Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Former Ohio State women’s basketball coach Jim Foster was terminated from his post without cause.
In a comment to The Lantern, OSU athletics director for legal affairs Julie Vannatta confirmed the nature of Foster’s departure from the university, which previously had not been made clear. The former Buckeyes coach of 11 years was fired and, as a result, will now receive installment payments that could amount to $350,000. Foster will also remain on the university’s payroll through early April and should receive additional money.
“Coach Foster has been terminated without cause. Under his employment contract, he is entitled to receive $350,000 in installment payments beginning on June 30, 2013, and concluding by April 30, 2014,” Vannatta told The Lantern. “Under his employment contract, he is required to make reasonable and diligent efforts to find a comparable employment position. If he chooses to retire from OPERS (Ohio Public Employees Retirement System), rather than obtaining a new job, any retirement benefits he receives will be used to offset the university’s obligation to pay him $350,000.”
OSU athletics spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed in a Wednesday email that Foster will remain on OSU’s payroll until April 7. In accordance with university procedures, Foster’s $502,000 base salary was paid in monthly installments – he would receive almost $42,000 for April’s payment.
Foster’s contract was set to expire on June 30, 2018.
A Tuesday morning meeting with OSU athletic director Gene Smith and executive associate athletic director Miechelle Willis resulted in a split between OSU and Foster, a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year award winner.
During his time as coach at the OSU, the Cheltenham, Pa., native amassed a 279-82 record and a .772 winning percentage. The postseason was not kind to Foster, however – he posted a 10-10 record in NCAA Tournament play while at OSU, and his Buckeye teams were eliminated in either the first or second rounds of the tournament during seven of 10 postseason runs.
A lack of sustained postseason success in the NCAA Tournament factored into the decision, Willis said.
“We strive to be nationally competitive. We believe that we have everything in place here to be nationally competitive. We believe that means that we should be playing deep into (the) postseason,” Willis said. “We expect to be in the Final Four on occasion, and definitely the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight are expectations that we have.”
OSU advanced as far as the Sweet 16-round three times (2004-05, 2008-09 and 2010-11) but no further.
A second-round exit in the Big Ten Tournament marked the end of the Buckeyes’ 2012-13 season. After posting an 18-13 mark this year, OSU did not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The team then decided it would not accept a bid from the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Had OSU advanced to the NCAA Tournament this season and been eliminated in the early rounds of the competition, Willis said on Tuesday that the end of Foster’s career at OSU was still possible.
Willis said OSU will immediately begin a national search for its next coach. The search will include coaches that are currently coaching in the postseason.
“Our search will unfold as the postseason unfolds,” said Willis, who added that OSU would not reach out to coaches at other universities until their respective team’s postseason run was over.