Basketball hunts for head coach

After four seasons with the Truman State University Bulldogs, leading them to an 83-40 record, men’s basketball head coach Chris Foster announced his resignation on March 29. Foster ranks No. 1 in all-time winning percentage at Truman and helped the program capture two of its six NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances. All four of Foster’s Truman teams earned 20-win seasons, and this year his team won a program-high 13 conference wins and secured its highest ever seed in the GLVC tournament with a second seed. Next year, Foster will carry his coaching career into the familiar territory of the GLVC as he moves into his accepted head coach position at McKendree University.

When redshirt junior guard Jack Green arrived at Truman nearly four years ago, he said that then-head coach Matt Woodley, the one who recruited him, was leaving. Woodley’s assistant coach at the time, Foster, was appointed to the job, and three and a half years later, Green said the team finds itself in a similar situation with the mindset of moving forward and returning even better next year under new supervision.

“I feel like we responded well to the news,” Green said. “Obviously it’s not easy to hear that your coach is leaving for another school in your conference. At the same time, we’re happy for Coach Foster, and we wish him the best.”

Truman Athletics Director Jerry Wollmering said the athletic department opened the position the day before Foster publicly announced his resignation. Wollmering said word got out, and news of the open position spread quickly. Wollmering said his office was bombarded with inquiries by more than 100 interested coaches, although, not all officially applied.

“Obviously, people see the success, and it sparks their interest,” Wollmering said. “There was still a lot of interest when we hired Matt Woodley and Chris Foster, but still, from coast to coast, people are inquiring about the position. There’s a lot of respect for Truman as a university. Plus, five straight 20-win seasons and two straight NCAA appearances is obviously attractive to coaches … It speaks well of Truman State that a lot of people would like to come here and be our head coach.”

Wollmering said the athletic department is currently narrowing the field, but the application process will not officially close until someone is hired. Because many of the applicants have coaching positions elsewhere, Wollmering said Truman Athletics is keeping candidate information private.

Wollmering said they hope to select and announce a new head coach before the end of the spring semester.

The Bulldogs graduated only two seniors and one member of the starting lineup from the 2017-18 roster, and eight upperclassmen will lead the team next season.

“All of the seniors for next year just want to keep everyone positive and continue to work towards the goals we know we can reach,” Green said. “I feel like all the experience we have coming back will really help us in the long run. We have a culture in this program that was established before we even got here. We just need to continue with that moving forward.”