Inside HOKIE SPORTS | Vol. 12 No. 3 | January 2020 21 the title game before Beamer retired in 2015. That still gnaws at Foster. He wanted to win one for the guy who gave him a chance and who mentored him throughout his entire career. “If he had won a championship, he would have been catapulted to the top of the list,” Foster said. “There are guys that might have won multiple championships, but there would not have been a guy thought of higher than him.” Following a heartbreaking season-ending loss to Kentucky in the Belk Bowl that concluded his career, Foster began his retirement with a four-day fishing trip to Key West. He and his wife also plan to go to Cancun this spring with some friends, and a couples trip to Destin, Florida is on the schedule for early August. He also wants to spend more time with his family—two of his three children live in the area, along with three grandchildren Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock plans on keeping Foster close to the department in an ambassador-type role similar to that of Beamer’s after Beamer retired. Foster looks forward to that role, one that allows him to keep giving to Virginia Tech, albeit in a different light. For sure, though, there are things that Foster will miss—the thrill of big wins, his relationship with the coaches, and especially his bonds with his players. He leaves as a beloved and revered figure among those he mentored for the past 33 years. “What has Bud Foster meant to Virginia Tech? I mean, I wish I was eloquent enough,” Tech head coach Justin Fuente said. “People are going to write books about it—several-hundred page books … He’s a hall of fame football coach. That doesn’t mean because he knows when to blitz, but because he knows how to handle people, and he’s passionate about his work. He’s the best.” Others have said similar things about Foster throughout the fall. He admitted to being overwhelmed by the respect, admiration and love shown by so many. He thought about that often over the final month and probably again during this pre-Christmas interview. Foster took a moment to shuffle some papers on his desk and then gazed around his office. A look of peace settled on his face. He insists there will be no second guessing. “I’m done with football,” he said. “If I’m going to coach, I’m going to coach here. I wasn’t going to go anywhere else.” Unfortunately, there was no Hollywood ending to Foster’s career. The Hokies lost to rival UVA, though Foster joked, “We were 21-4 in my 25 years against Virginia. That’s not too bad.” They also lost to Kentucky in the final seconds. Unlike most coaches, though, Foster went out on his terms. For a man of his stature, for all he did for Virginia Tech, certainly this was the best way for his career to end. I I 540-343-5400 ©2019 AAA Club Alliance Inc. 19_590490 WE’VE BEEN THERE Start planning today, and in no time you could be experiencing the architecture, history, culture, cuisine, shopping, and scenery wherever your travels take you. W H O K N O W S H O W T O G E T Y O U T H E M O S T O U T O F Y O U R V A C A T I O N ? MARTIN KNOWS