Lunch Pail No More: Foster Announces Retirement

ACC Nation Staff @accnation (Portions from

It’s been a heckuva ride. Associate head coach and defensive coordinator Bud Foster, known for his ‘lunch pail’ defense at Virginia Tech has announced his retirement at the end of this season. The hand in glove duo of Frank Beamer and Bud Foster are a storied part of Hokie football history. Foster’s arrival in Blacksburg in 1987 began his journey as the nation’s longest continuously tenured FBS assistant coach at the same school.

For Hokie fans, a battered lunch pail embodied the the blue collar, grittiness of Foster’s defenses over the years. The can do spirit that helped turn Virginia Tech into a nationally known program.

Foster won’t be leaving campus, however. He’ll take on a role for Virginia Tech similar to that of the Frank Beamer. Foster will act as an ambassador for the football program and take on special initiatives. He’ll report directly to Athletic Director Whit Babcock.

Foster began his coaching career at his alma mater, Murray State where he had been a player. He joined Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech in 1987 and worked his way up to defensive coordinator in 1996.

Lunch Pail – Grinding It Out

From 1996 forward the Hokies lead all FBS programs in number of sacks (856). There’s more to this story. The sack yardage (-5,839), interceptions (380) and third down percentage (31.5) speaks volumes about this defense. During that same time frame only Alabama and Ohio State have been better in scoring defense.

In that same period 45 players from the Hokies defense have been drafted into the NFL.

Listen To The ‘Voices Of’ Football Preview For Virginia Tech


“There’s only one Bud Foster, ” said Justin Fuente. “When Whit and I first discussed the head coaching job at Virginia Tech in 2015, one of the many appealing aspects of the opportunity was that it could potentially come with the best defensive coordinator in the country. I’m personally grateful for how Bud accepted me and the fact that I’ll be able to work with him for a fourth season. When you think of the individuals who truly helped put Virginia Tech on the national map, it unquestionably starts with Frank Beamer and includes a multitude of sensational players starting with Bruce Smith and Michael Vick. But you can’t go any further in that conversation without discussing Bud Foster and the Lunch Pail Defense. What a great friend, an outstanding man and unbelievable football coach.”


“Bud’s contributions to this university and community have been monumental,” said Frank Beamer. “I want to personally thank him for his decades of dedication and commitment. I encourage the Hokie Nation to show up ‘loud and proud’ this fall to cheer on Coach Fuente and the team, and, to send Coach Foster out the Virginia Tech way.”


“I appreciate Whit and Coach Fuente putting their faith in me the past few years, ” said Foster. “Whit has been a class act all the way around and I have no doubt that Coach Fuente is the right guy to continue leading this program. I’m energized about where the Hokies are headed under his direction and I’m grateful for our friendship. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this program for over three decades and that’s not going to change this year. I’m excited about this season and I can’t wait to get on the practice field Friday.”

Make ACC Nation Radio Your Go To For Sports News