The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other news outlets are citing anonymous sources that say Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has interviewed for Pitt’s head-coaching vacancy (along with Penn State assistant Tom Bradley and Tulsa’s Todd Graham).
I’ve left messages with Foster’s agent and on Foster’s cell phone – and have reached out to various other sources close to the situation – but have not immediately heard back. I’ll keep you posted if/when I do. (UPDATE: Before I could even post this, one assistant coach who works under Foster texted to say he’s heard nothing about Foster interviewing for the Pitt job.)
I did reach Hokies athletic director Jim Weaver by phone just a few minutes ago. He’s watching the Pittsburgh-Kentucky bowl game right now, coincidentally. But he said my call was the first he’s heard of Foster’s supposed interview.
“I have absolutely no knowledge of that whatsoever,” Weaver said. “I’ve not heard anything. And to be honest with you, I don’t think I would get the call for permission to talk. I would normally only get those calls for head coaches.”
Asked if Tech would try to counter with a sweeter deal for Foster if Pitt does offer its head-coaching job, Weaver said, “I think it goes without saying that we would like Coach Foster to be here as long as he wants to be here. But I’m not sure there’s a counter-offer that would compete with the job of a head coach. And furthermore, if he has a chance to get a head job in a BCS conference, that’s pretty strong.”
Foster has for several years now said he craves a head-coaching gig in a BCS conference. He’s said he wouldn’t leave Tech for a small-school job or to be somebody else’s coordinator. He even pulled himself out of the mix for Vanderbilt’s recent head-coaching job because he said he thought he had a better job as the Hokies’ coordinator.
And Tech has sweetened his deal over and over and over to keep him happy in Blacksburg. The latest upping of the ante came last year, when the Hokies agreed to pay Foster essentially an $800,000 bonus if he stays through the 2014 season. That’s in addition to his $402,000 annual salary.
So what else can Tech do to keep Foster? Probably not much. Asked if the Hokies would consider throwing together a coach-in-waiting deal for Foster – a guarantee that he’d be the head coach after Beamer retires – if Pitt made an offer, Weaver said:
“Probably not because Coach Beamer and I and Dr. Steger (university president) don’t like the coach-in-waiting concept. And to be honest, I think Coach Beamer’s planning to be here for a while. So that concept at this juncture would be inappropriate.”
So now, Tech fans, you just have to wait. And keep holding your breath.