Northwestern University has fired baseball coach Jim Foster after a probe reportedly found a pattern of ‘bullying and abusive behavior’ within the program. This comes less than a week after they let go of popular, longtime football coach Pat Fitzgerald in what appears to be a radical reaction to a rumored toxic environment.
The school publicly commented regarding Foster’s dismissal in a statement from athletic director Derrick Gragg.
“Nothing will ever be more important to Northwestern than providing its students a place that allows them to develop in the classroom, in the community, and in competition at the absolute highest level, and building a culture which allows our staff to thrive,” the statement reads. “This has been an ongoing situation and many factors were considered before reaching this resolution.
“As the director of athletics, I take ownership of our head coaching hires and we will share our next steps as they unfold.”
Jim Foster’s termination comes as NU seems to be on a mission to clean up its image, as well as avoid potential liability. Several former athletes have now come forward to allege mistreatment by both the baseball coach and members of the football team. Due to this, former Wildcats player and later head coach was let go earlier this week, despite the fact that many of Fitzgerald’s ex-players have come out to defend him.
Wildly popular among the alumni and Wildcat fans, Fitzgerald’s departure is not being taken well by the fan base. Because the coach has been essentially squeaky clean both in and out of the program for a span of 30 years, it didn’t take long for the shouting to start. And one of the biggest complaints (rightfully so) is that Northwestern basically soft-pedaled the situation until it became a bigger public relations problem.
And now, it appears that Foster is the latest one to get caught up in the Purple Haze. Despite a fairly successful career and a winning record in stints with Providence, Rhode Island, Army, and in Evanston. But even with a mark of 440–410–3, there’s no guarantee that he will be able to get another job coaching in NCAA baseball again. The black mark against his name will follow him everywhere he goes from here, whether it’s justified or not.
For now, Northwestern Baseball Assistant Coach Brian Anderson will move over to the head coaching spot, according to an NU Athletics Press Release. But away from the diamond, their faithful must be asking… where do we go from here?