CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Chattanooga’s Jim Foster is retiring after a four-decade career in which he won more than 900 games and became the only women’s basketball coach to earn NCAA Tournament bids with four different schools.
Foster ends his career with 903 wins to rank seventh among all women’s basketball coaches. The school said in a statement Tuesday the 69-year-old coach wanted to spend more time with his family.
”On one side, the program is where I feel comfortable,” Foster said in the release. ”On the other, both my sons expressed interest in hanging out with me more often. (His wife) Donna’s moved three or four times for me. It’s time to do something for her.”
Foster earned his 900th career victory when Chattanooga won at Western Carolina this past season to tie former Texas coach Jody Conradt for seventh on the all-time list. He would earn three more wins to end his career with a 903-347 mark in 40 seasons.
He went 120-40 at Chattanooga the last five years and led the Mocs to four straight Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles from 2014-17. Foster also went 248-126 at Saint Joseph’s, 256-99 at Vanderbilt and 279-82 at Ohio State. He reached a Final Four with Vanderbilt in 1993.
Foster is the only coach to reach the Top 25 with four different schools. He was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
He also had quite an impressive coaching tree. Foster’s assistant coaches at Saint Joseph’s included Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw, both members of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
The only women’s basketball coaches to exceed Foster’s win total are former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, Auriemma, North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell, Bentley’s Barbara Stevens and Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer. Stevens is a Division II coach.
”I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Coach Foster on a remarkable career that has included 40 years of amazing accomplishments,” Chattanooga athletic director Mark Wharton said. ”We are grateful for his commitment to excellence during his five years at UTC and the impact he had on our University. We are all going to miss Jim and Donna, but we are excited for them as they enter the next phase of their lives.”
Katie Burrows, a former Chattanooga player who worked as an assistant coach on Foster’s staff, will serve as the Mocs’ interim head coach while the school conducts a nationwide search for Foster’s replacement.