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Foster wins 500th in New Orleans

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 18 - January 25, 1996

Virginia Tech Basketball Coach Bill Foster reached a milestone in his long coaching career on December 31 when he recorded his 500th coaching victory. The win came against Wright State, 62-46, in a game that was played in New Orleans to accommodate Tech fans who were attending the Tech-Texas Nokia Sugar Bowl.

In more than 28 seasons as a head coach, Foster now has 500 wins and just 304 losses. He joins 16 active Division I coaches who have reached the magical milestone. Only 40 Division I coaches have ever won 500 games.

Virginia Tech overcame a slow start to defeat Wright State, which led for the first 15 minutes before Tech exploded for 12 straight points to take charge. Damon Watlington had 20 points for the Techmen while Ace Custis scored 16 and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Here are the numbers for Foster's career: Shorter (1962-67), 110 wins, 31 losses; UNC Charlotte (1970-75), 87 wins, 39 losses; Clemson (1975-1984), 156 wins, 106 losses; Miami, Fla. (1985-90), 78 wins, 71 losses; Virginia Tech (1991-present), 69 wins, 57 losses.

The 500-Win Club is composed of Dean Smith, North Carolina, 839; Jim Phelan, Mount St. Mary's, 741; Don Haskins, Texas-El Paso, 673;. Norm Stewart, Missouri, 668; Bobby Knight, Indiana, 666; Lefty Driesell, James Madison, 661; Lou Henson, Illinois, 656; Gene Bartow, Alabama-Birmingham, 641; Jerry Tarkanian, Fresno State, 631; Denny Crum, Louisville, 573; Eddie Sutton, Oklahoma State, 561; John Thompson, Georgetown, 535; Eldon Miller, Northern Iowa, 533; John Chaney, Temple, 523; Pete Carril, Princeton, 510; and Bill Foster, Virginia Tech, 500.

Foster, who recently signed a new five-year contract, is in his fifth season as head coach at Virginia Tech. He guided the Hokies to a school record 25 wins and the championship of the National InvitationalTournament last season. Foster's first two Tech teams posted identical 10-18 records, but the 1993-94 squad turned things around with an 18-10 record after being picked to finish last in the Metro Conference.

After scoring victories over arch-rival Virginia and Wright State, Tech moved to 18th place in both the Associated Press and USA Today/CNN Coaches' polls. At press time, the Hokies were ranked eighth in the nation with a record of 12-1.

(Please see accompanying photo on page 7.)