Foster entering Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Posted: July 18, 2012

WASHINGTON - The string of notables with local ties to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame expanded Monday night with the announcement that Ohio State's Jim Foster, the former coach at St. Joseph's, and Rutgers all-time great Sue Wicks are part of the six-member 2013 induction class.

The class, whose ceremony will take place June 8, 2013, at the Hall in Knoxville, Tenn., was announced during halftime of the ESPN2 telecast of the U.S. women's Olympic team exhibition game against Brazil at the Verizon Center. In the nightcap of the doubleheader, the U.S. men's team faced Brazil.

Former University of Connecticut star Jen Rizzotti, who coaches the Hartford women, also was named along with longtime Texas A&M coach Gary Blair, former Texas center Annette Smith-Knight, and former Mississippi star Peggie Gillom-Granderson.

Last month, former Temple coach Dawn Staley was inducted.

The 63-year-old Foster, who was born in Abington and graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School and Temple, is the fourth person with St. Joseph's ties to be inducted.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, a Big Five Hall of Famer who played for the Hawks, was inducted last year, and Immaculata great Theresa Grentz, a previous inductee, is a former St. Joseph's coach.

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, a Hall inductee as well as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., was hired by Foster as an assistant when Foster became the Hawks coach before the 1978-79 season. He is from Norristown.

Foster, who coached such St. Joseph's stars as Debbie Black, now one of his aides with the Buckeyes, current Hawks coach Cindy Griffin, and current staff member Katie Gardler, was an assistant to Grentz on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team that won a bronze medal.

"It's hard to get a grasp on the magnitude of the honor when you've still only recently gotten the news," said Foster, who was informed three weeks ago by Carol Callan, the president of the Hall's board of directors.

Foster, whose overall record is 765-294 in 34 years of coaching, is one of only a handful of coaches who have had three different teams earn rankings in the Associated Press women's poll. In addition to St. Joseph's and Ohio State, he coached at Vanderbilt, which he led to the Women's Final Four in 1993. He coached the Hawks for 13 seasons before moving to Vanderbilt in 1991.

Foster also coached the Bishop McDevitt High girls in the Philadelphia Catholic League before succeeding Rene Portland as coach of the Hawks.

"I'm out recruiting this past week, and when I'm at [AAU] games and camps, kids of my former players are now on the court," said Foster.

He said he recalled no specific highlights of his career.

"It's more about the day-to-day, the players and assistants over the years," he said. "It's being at St. Joseph's and being associated with [former men's coaches] Jim Lynam and Jim Boyle. The 76ers used to practice there every day, so it was a great opportunity to be around them and soak up all that knowledge."

Black was informed earlier Monday of Foster's honor.

"That's great, very well deserved," she said.

Foster gave Auriemma his first coaching job when he hired him on Hawk Hill.

"Getting inducted into a Hall of Fame is a combination of things," Auriemma said. "The quality of work you have done and the time you have done it. To be at three different schools that Jim has been and to have the success he has had at three different schools, he certainly has that criteria. . . . I'm surprised it took this long."

Wicks, who played for Grentz from 1984 to '88, still holds records for Rutgers women and men for career points (2,655), scoring average (21.2 ppg.), rebounds (1,357), and field goals made/attempted (1,091/2,099), and women's career records for rebounding average (10.9 rpg.), blocked shots (293), and free throws made and attempted (473/641).

Wicks was a WNBA all-star when she played for New York.

"I'm absolutely, positively thrilled for her," Grentz said. "She's earned it, and I plan to be there with bells on when she gets inducted.

"And Jim, he was one of my Olympic assistants. He's done so much for the game. Just another in a long line of great Philly basketball coaches, men and women."

Blair, who guided Texas A&M to the 2011 NCAA title, said he was surprised when he got the call.

"This one I didn't really think about," he said. "I broke down and cried when I got the news."

Jim Foster's Career Record

Year       School        Overall Conf. NCAA Tournament

1978-79    St. Joseph's 16-9              AIAW 1st Rnd.

1979-80    St. Joseph's 11-15 3-1 Big 5             ------

1980-81    St. Joseph's 14-11 2-2 Big 5             ------

1981-82    St. Joseph's 16-12 2-2 Big 5             ------

1982-83    St. Joseph's 15-13 3-1 Big 5             ------

1983-84    St. Joseph's 17-10   3-1 Big 5, 3-5 A-10    ------

1984-85    St. Joseph's 25-5    4-0 Big 5, 7-1 A-10 1st Rnd.

1985-86    St. Joseph's 22-7    2-1 Big 5, 12-4 A-10 2d Rnd.

1986-87    St. Joseph's 23-9    3-1 Big 5, 14-4 A-10 2d Rnd.

1987-88    St. Joseph's 24-8    3-1 Big 5, 16-2 A-10 2d Rnd.

1988-89    St. Joseph's 23-8    2-2 Big 5, 16-2 A-10 2d Rnd.

1989-90    St. Joseph's 24-7    4-0 Big 5, 16-2 A-10 1st Rnd.

1990-91    St. Joseph's 18-12    4-0 Big 5, 10-8 A-10    ------

1991-92    Vanderbilt     22-9    6-5 SEC             Elite Eight

1992-93    Vanderbilt     30-3    9-2 SEC             Final Four

1993-94    Vanderbilt     25-8    9-2 SEC           Sweet 16

1994-95    Vanderbilt     28-7    8-3 SEC        Sweet 16

1995-96    Vanderbilt     23-8    7-4 SEC           Elite Eight

1996-97    Vanderbilt     20-11    6-6 SEC           Sweet 16

1997-98    Vanderbilt     20-9    9-5 SEC           1st Rnd.

1998-99    Vanderbilt     13-14    6-8 SEC                ------

1999-00    Vanderbilt     21-13    6-8 SEC           2d Rnd.

2000-01    Vanderbilt     24-10    8-6 SEC              Elite Eight

2001-02    Vanderbilt     30-7    10-4 SEC           Elite Eight

2002-03    Ohio State     22 -10    10-6 Big Ten     2d Rnd.

2003-04    Ohio State     21-10    11-5 Big Ten     2d Rnd.

2004-05    Ohio State     30-5    14-2 Big Ten     Sweet 16

2005-06    Ohio State     29-3    15-1 Big Ten     2d Rnd.

2006-07    Ohio State     28-4    15-1 Big Ten     1st Rnd.

2007-08    Ohio State     22-9    13-5 Big Ten     1st Rnd.

2008-09    Ohio State     29-6    15-3 Big Ten        Sweet 16

2009-10    Ohio State     31-5    15-3 Big Ten     2d Rnd.

2010-11    Ohio State     24-10    10-6 Big Ten     Sweet 16

2011-12    Ohio State     25-7    11-5 Big Ten     1st Rnd.

Overall (34 years)             765- 294    .722 winning pct.

Ohio State (10 years)        261-69       .790

Vanderbilt (11 years)           256- 99       .721

St. Joseph's (13 years)       248-126       .663

Overall conference             342-130       .725

Big Ten (10 years)           129-37       .780

SEC (11 years)              84-53       .613

Big Five (12 years)          35-12       .745

Atlantic 10 (12 years)          94-28       .770


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