CHATTANOOGA — Chattanooga has hired a future hall of famer as its next women's basketball head coach.
The university announced Thursday the hiring of Jim Foster, who will be inducted in less than a month into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The former St. Joseph's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State coach has a 783-307 record and ranks 11th in NCAA history in career wins. Foster and Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer are the only men's or women's college basketball coaches at any level to win at least 200 games at three different schools.
Foster, 64, was fired by Ohio State after going 18-13 this season, the only time in his 11-year tenure with the Buckeyes that they won fewer than 20 games and failed to reach the NCAA tournament. Foster is replacing Wes Moore, who took over North Carolina State's program last month after making nine NCAA tournament appearances in 15 years at Chattanooga.
"Chattanooga has always been one of our favorite places, going back to the early '90's when the SEC tournament was hosted in the city," Foster said in a university release announcing the hire. "I have always had a favorable impression of Chattanooga because of that and have been back often with my wife. (Moore) has done an absolutely terrific job of building a program that I have a lot of respect for. I am ready to get to work."
This represents a return to the state of Tennessee for Foster, who went 256-99 at Vanderbilt from 1991-2002. Vanderbilt reached the Final Four in 1993 and advanced to a regional final four other times during his 11-year tenure.
Foster will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville on June 8.
"It was apparent from the beginning of this process that the strong tradition of excellence surrounding our women's basketball program would attract a well-qualified candidate pool," Chattanooga athletic director David Blackburn said in a university release. "I had no idea that we would be able to hire a Hall of Famer like Jim Foster. His career speaks for itself. He has achieved success at both the collegiate and international levels, while maintaining programs that graduate student-athletes and prepare them for productive and meaningful lives."
Foster has reached 26 NCAA tournaments in 35 years as a head coach.
He began his head coaching career in 1978 at St. Joseph's, where he went 248-126 in 13 seasons. St. Joseph's earned NCAA bids in six of his last seven years there.
Foster went from there to Vanderbilt, where he led the Commodores to 10 NCAA appearances in 11 seasons. Vanderbilt advanced to the regional semifinals or beyond in eight of those seasons.
He went 279-82 at Ohio State the last 11 seasons. Ohio State made a school-record 10 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2003-12 and won six straight Big Ten regular-season titles from 2005-10.