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Virginia Tech football: 30 days til kickoff as we celebrate Bud Foster

Our countdown will be a little bit different today and for good reason.

Virginia Tech v Tennessee
Bud Foster and Frank Beamer
Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Today is August 1, 2019, which means we are just 30 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the college football season at Boston College. Football is this month, people. And with that being said, the Hokies are set to open fall camp and HUGE news came out today before the beginning of practice: Bud Foster is retiring.

Yes, sadly, that day has finally arrived and Foster is retiring from coaching after the 2019 season. So, instead of looking back at a specific player for our countdown, let’s look back at one of the greatest defensive coaches in college football history and a legend in Blacksburg and at Virginia Tech.

So, back to our regularly scheduled countdown tomorrow, tonight is Bud’s night.

Foster, who just turned 59 earlier this week, came to Blacksburg in 1987 when Frank Beamer was named head coach at Virginia Tech. Foster, who played strong safety and linebacker for Beamer at Murray State, also began his coaching career at his alma mater under Beamer. Foster would spend his first two years out of college as a graduate assistant under Beamer before spending his next three years as an outside linebackers coach. In 1986, Beamer gave him even more responsibility, also naming him special teams coach in addition to coaching the linebackers.

Foster would follow Beamer to Blacksburg. At first, he coached inside linebackers for one year. In 1988, he would coach outside linebackers for five seasons and then spent the 1993 season as linebackers coach and special teams coach. His big break would come in 1995, when Beamer promoted him to co-defensive coordinator with Rod Sharpless. That arrangement didn’t last long and the job was Foster’s alone beginning in 1996.

Foster’s resume as defensive coordinator is impeccable. He won the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, in 2006 and was a finalist in several other seasons. Quite frankly, Foster should have won that award several times. He won other awards, such as national defensive coordinator of the year in different publications, specifically in 1999 by the American Football Coach Magazine.

Tech’s current bowl streak is due in large part to Foster and his defense. The Hokies have ended many seasons as top defense in their respective conference, whether it be the Big East or the ACC and have regularly resided in the top 10 and even top five nationally numerous times. Since 1996, when Foster took over as the sole defensive coordinator, no team in college football has more sacks and interceptions than Virginia Tech.

BeamerBall wasn’t just scoring on special teams, but on defense, too. How many defensive touchdowns have the Hokies scored under Foster? That would be 71 defensive touchdowns since 1996 for the Hokies

If we go back to the year 2000, the Hokies have shut out opposing teams 22 times, second only to Alabama. The Hokies have a total of 34 shutouts since Foster took over. In 2006, Tech’s defense ranked No. 1 nationally is scoring defense, total defense and pass defense. The Hokies recorded an amazing 856 sacks and 380 interceptions under Foster’s watch. His attacking style of defense often led both college and professional teams to seek him out.

And Foster was as loyal as they come, another trait that makes him beloved by Hokie Nation. How many times did SEC teams come to him and make him huge offers only for him to turn them down and remain in Blacksburg? When Beamer retired, Foster had the perfect opportunity to go elsewhere, but he decided to help ease the transition from Beamer to Justin Fuente.

I could go on and on about Foster and his accomplishments, and over the next several months I probably will. But you can’t do this countdown without acknowledging Bud Foster on his special day. He went out on his terms. At 59, Foster still has plenty of prime years left and for him this was the right time to step away and enjoy life.

Thanks for everything, Bud.