Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 12 No. 3 | January 2020

20 Inside Hokie Sports what he had in Blacksburg. “Do I have regrets about not being a head coach? No,” Foster said. “Did I want to do that? Yes. I was extremely selective with what I wanted. We were playing here at the highest level, we were on TV every time we played, we were competing for championships every year. We went through a 15-year stretch where we were as good as anybody in the country. I didn’t feel like I needed to take a step back to take another step forward. So I don’t have any regrets that way. “I wanted to compete at the highest level, which is what we were doing here. That, to me, is what was driving me. We were in the hunt for championships here, and that put you in the position, back in those days, to play in BCS games and that type of thing. If they had the playoff system, then we’d have been a factor in that, too. That’s what kept me here—we were doing those types of things, and I didn’t have to go somewhere else to do that unless I was going to run my own ship.” Foster leaves coaching with only one regret—not being able to win a national championship. Of course, the Hokies played for the title in 2000 and led going into the fourth quarter before losing to Florida State, but they weren’t able to get back to LEAVESUNDENIABLE LEGACYAT TECH Continued from page 19 Providing Teamwork and Fast Forward Document Technology to Virginia Tech Athletics ... and your company! MFPs I Document Management I Managed Print Services I Production Print VBS VT ad 2018_Layout 1 7/26/18 10:28 AM Page 1 graduate assistant for two years, and Foster eventually moved into the role of linebackers coach for Beamer for four seasons. Tech fans know the story from this point forward. Beamer interviewed for the Tech job in 1986, and while going through the process, he told Foster that he wanted Foster to come with him to Blacksburg if he got the job. Foster was excited about the opportunity. He knew little about Virginia Tech, other than that Beamer went to school there and Jerry Claiborne once coached there. Foster grew up as a Missouri fan and spent his Saturdays watching Big 8 football, but a coaching position at a Division I school—sign him up. Arriving as the linebackers coach, Foster attacked his new gig with all the excitement of a 28-year-old in his first Division I job. But things weren’t easy, as Tech, then an independent, lacked a national presence even though it hadwon the PeachBowl over NC State the previous season. “I remember coming here and going up and recruiting Philadelphia,” Foster said. “I remember a kid asking, ‘Are you guys Division I or Division I-AA?’ That’s kind of where we started. So it kind of tells you where we started from, and we changed that.” Beamer, of course, gets the credit for changing the fortunes of the program and making it a national brand—and certainly deservedly so. But if Beamer was Batman, then Foster was Robin. Foster moved into the role of co-defensive coordinator in 1995, and the Hokies burst onto the national scene with a perception-changing victory over Texas in the 1995 Sugar Bowl. Foster took over the sole reins of the defense the following season, and the Hokies began an impressive two-decade run. Led mostly by a dominating defense, they beat Alabama in the Music City Bowl, played for the national championship following the 1999 season, won seven conference titles, and beat the likes of Texas A&M, Clemson, LSU, Miami, Florida State and Ohio State through the years. Foster even won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant in 2006. Foster was always the constant. Tech went through offensive coordinators (Gary Tranquill, Rickey Bustle, Bryan Stinespring, Mike O’Cain, Scot Loeffler), and various assistant coaches left throughout that span. Yet while he looked and occasionally interviewed for he d jobs, he never saw anything that compared to