Breaking: NU announces Jim Foster as next head baseball coach

By Brea Lassek

Northwestern announced Tuesday former Army skipper Jim Foster will be the Wildcats’ next head baseball coach.

Foster spent the last six seasons with the Black Knights, leading the program to four NCAA tournament appearances in five full seasons and going 162-140 in his time at West Point. He earned the title of 2022 Patriot League Coach of the Year following a 31-25 season that ended in the Hattiesburg regional. Prior to Army, Foster spent nine seasons as the University of Rhode Island’s head coach, becoming the all-time winningest coach in program history with a 268-230-3 (.538) record.

The new Northwestern skipper was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 22nd round of the 1993 MLB June Amateur Draft after his career at Providence College and spent eight seasons playing professionally. He brings a high level of pitching expertise– a much-needed area of growth for the ‘Cats–- as he went on to be an associate coach at Boston College, leading his 2016 pitching staff to a 3.83 team ERA. 

“We are so excited to welcome Jim Foster and his family to Northwestern,” said Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Dr. Derrick Gragg. “In a comprehensive national search, his combination of on-field success and student-athlete development set him apart. The on-field record speaks for itself, both in terms of team and individual success. His experience of leadership at West Point, an institution we have enormous respect for, is something that has prepared him for the academic environment our students thrive in. The future of Wildcats baseball is exceptionally bright with Jim at the helm.”

Foster will take over for interim head coach Josh Reynolds, who was named to the position after the sudden retirement of Spencer Allen last May. Reynolds posted a 24-27 record in his one year at the helm.

NU started off the 2022 season with a 2-10 record, then fought back with a seven-game winning streak and captured series wins in its first two Big Ten matchups. The ‘Cats finished conference play 10-14 and narrowly missed the eight-team Big Ten tournament field with what would have been their first appearance since 2017. Northwestern is still seeking its first season above .500 since 2000.

Foster will have a hefty task in replacing key leaders for the ‘Cats with several players entering the transfer portal. Friday night starter and first-year ace Sean Sullivan recently announced his decision to transfer to Wake Forest, and eight other Wildcats remain in the portal, including Big Ten Second Team recipients Ethan O’Donnell and Patrick Herrera, along with 2021 All-Conference First Team selection Anthony Calarco. 

“My family and I are thrilled to join the Wildcats community,” Foster said. “The chance to join a community of world-class coaches and educators, coach top student-athletes, play in a great ballpark, train in some of the best facilities in the game, and live in the Chicagoland baseball community makes for an exciting future at Miller Park. We can’t wait to get to Evanston to settle in, meet everyone and get to work.”