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McElroy: "It's time". Some thoughts on Bud Foster's announcement, retirement, and the College Football Hall of Fame

Virginia Tech's defensive legend "should" step off the field and into the College Football Hall of Fame

Wes McElroy
August 02, 2019 - 10:12 am

Being in Blacksburg yesterday, the news of Bud Foster's retirement after this year, came in a way- shocking and in another way it wasn’t.

It was shocking because it is one of the great defensive coordinators of the game, an institution at VT, a man, who without him, this program doesn’t reach the heights that it did.  That’s in all due respect to Frank Beamer, who would be the first one to tell you this.

It was a surprise because when you hear the news you think ahead that next year for the first time in over three decades somebody else will be running the defense in Blacksburg.

The news in a way wasn’t shocking because this has been an option.

This has been part of the conversation around Bud since the end of last year as he went into the final year of his deal.

Not only did this defense get hit by attrition, suspensions and having to play guys who weren’t ready, Bud got hit by “life” last year.   He got divorced and re-married.  Had health issues with his knee which Justin Fuente opened up at the ACC Kickoff and said it was tough for him to watch Bud day in and day out with debilitating knee pain.  There were other health issues with Bud that he wanted to keep private.

I saw this with my own Dad. My dad was in a competitive grinding business.  He tried to be the same person at 58 that he was at 38.  Never missed a day, never miss a beat.  There was never such thing as a sick days.  

The end result, my father drove himself into a hospital bed with pneumonia that went to his blood and he ended up in a coma for 8 days.

When my dad woke up, went through recovery, and eventually went back to work 6 months later- he knew it was time.  He knew he was smart about his money.  He knew it was tough to walk away at 62.   But he also knew that being smart by his money that he could take a step back and forward at the same time. There was way more time that he had to go be with his grand kids, to go travel, to jump in a car with my Mom to Richmond.

 Like Bud—my Dad worked 1 more year and wanted to make sure his career ended on a high note.

 But sometimes you know when it’s time…..and sometimes you know, and the hardest thing is admitting it to yourself.

One thing Bud shouldn’t have to overcome and this I hope gets looked at by more influential people then me and that is Assistant coaches aren’t eligible for the College Football Hall of Fame.

And that’s not right, because Bud Foster should be in the College Football Hall of Fame.

The purpose of a Hall of Fame is to tell the story of a sport.   It’s not the hall of stats even though we like to do that with guys and their yards, or touchdowns or rings.

It’s the Hall of Fame. Can you tell the story of College Football without this person?

And you can’t bring up the rise of Virginia Tech, the Big East, the ACC, the conference titles…the 1999 National Championship; you can’t do it without Bud Foster and the lunch pail defense.

The talent he brought up, the impact it had on Frank Beamer’s teams, career, and the rise of VT.

There’s a replica of the Lunch pail in the CFHOF (if that’s not enough proof that you can’t tell the story of CFB without Bud Foster)—than what it is?

But the College Football Hall of Fame, just re-visit that rule or policy because you think great, arguably the greatest defensive coordinators in the history of CFB-----Bud Foster is #1 or one of the top 3—all time.

He’ll get plenty of accolades in Blacksburg……maybe he even a street named after him –but Bud Foster should get his spot in the CFB HOF.