Former assistant coach Chris Foster takes over as head coach of Truman State’s men’s basketball team after former head coach Matt Woodley accepted a position with the NBA Development League.
The announcement of Woodley’s departure came during the basketball team’s first week of practice. Athletic Director Jerry Wollmering says Woodley notified him at the beginning of September, meaning Wollmering and university president Troy Paino needed to act fast to find a replacement. Wollmering says Foster’s performance as assistant coach during last year’s notable 20-win season for the men’s team made him an obvious candidate and within a week Foster was named head coach.
Foster’s work as coach
Before coming to Truman as an assistant coach at the beginning of Fall 2013, Foster coached at Jefferson High School and North County High School, both in the St. Louis area, and also was video coordinator for the University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball program.
“I’ve always dreamed of being a head coach, but it happened faster than I thought it would,” Foster says. “I’ve always tried to do the best at the job I’m at and I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity.”
Hoping to build on last year’s success, Foster says he wants to make it to the top of the GLVC on a consistent basis. He says players who were in supporting roles last season are ready to step up to meet the challenge.
“You have to rely heavily on your seniors, which we did last year, and develop your younger guys,” Foster says. “That is something that we take pride in … That’s the blueprint for tradition.”
Woodley Moves to NBA
Former head coach Matt Woodley will become the assistant coach for Iowa Energy, an NBA Development League team in Des Moines, Iowa. Woodley says he is excited about working in an environment without academics or recruiting where he can focus exclusively on honing his craft in basketball.
“I’ve always wanted to work in professional basketball,” Woodley says. “I follow the NBA religiously … From a basketball standpoint, this is a dream come true.”
Woodley says his strongest memories of his three year tenure at Truman will be the players.
“I can’t say enough about those guys,” Woodley says. “They are my family.”
Team faces challenges this semester
The loss of last year’s head coach adds to the obstacles for the team to repeat last year’s success, as they also are searching for a player to replace star forward Mike Carlson. Carlson, who graduated last spring, was named GLVC Player of the Year. Even without Carlson, Wollmering says he thinks the team will strive to outdo last year’s performance.
“Being eliminated in the first round at home in the conference tournament [last season] has lit a fire,” Wollmering says. “We have some tough tournaments in the beginning, but the guys will be up to the challenge.”