Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University has tabbed Michigannative Marie Foster as its next head softballcoach, according to an announcement made today (June 25) by FSUAthletics Director Perk Weisenburger. Shewill officially begin her duties on Tuesday (June 26).
Foster, who played collegiately at NCAA Division I WesternMichigan, has spent the past year as a private instructor and campdirector in Lansing following four years as the head softball coachat Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D.
In 2007, Foster took over a struggling Dakota Wesleyan softballprogram and built a competitive team through player development andstrong recruiting along with other attributes. When Foster'shusband Jason took a new job in Michigan, she left DWU to focus oncollege coaching opportunities closer to home. Theopportunity at Ferris State matched her career goals.
"We were looking for someone who not only possessed head coachingexperience, but also had proven abilities in assessing talent, whoknew the state of Michigan and could utilize our Great LakesScholarship program at Ferris State," said Weisenburger. "We wantedsomeone with a demonstrated ability to connect with and developyoung players and we feel this is a real strength of Marie's."
"We could not be more pleased that she accepted our offer tobecome the next softball coach at Ferris State, continuing whatKeri Becker and Dawn Thompson have established and accomplishedbefore her," he added.
During her stint at Dakota Wesleyan, Foster's teams set numerousschool records. Additionally, she coached 16 players toAll-Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) accolades and her squadreceived the institution's NAIA Champions of Character Award in2010.
Foster's final team at DWU in 2011 set or tied school records innine categories including runs scored and team batting averageamong others. She has extensive nationwide recruitingexperience and was responsible for doubling the program's operatingbudget with fundraising efforts.
"I'm thrilled to be coming to Ferris State and really felt like itwas a great fit," Foster said. "I've always wanted to coachat a school back in Michigan and that's a big reason why I leftDakota Wesleyan. This is the exact type of position I waslooking for and I think I'll be able to step in quickly and it isexciting."
Besides her work as the head softball coach at Dakota Wesleyan,Foster also maintained the position of Student Success Supervisorfor the university while also developing and organizing a yearlycommunity service project that included more than 150volunteers. Her tenure as head coach also including theresponsibility of planning and implementing player developmentcamps along with coaching clinics.
"We placed a premium on finding someone who had experience inmanaging a comprehensive program that included fundraising,scholarship & roster management, alumni relations and the dayto day interactions with student-athletes that is such an importantpart of what coaches do," Weisenburger said. "The fact that Mariealso played softball at the Division 1 level and has been dedicatedto the sport for the past 10 years makes her a very good fit forus."
A member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA),Foster served as the assistant softball coach at highly-regardedIowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge for two seasons priorto taking over at DWU. While at Iowa Central, she held theposition of recruiting coordinator along with being the school'sdirector of intramurals. She helped the squad posted a 52-13overall record and win a league championship in 2007.
Foster helped Iowa Central to a number five national ranking inthe National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll andcoached one All-American along with eight all-regionhonorees. She also was an instructor at the school anddeveloped intramural activities for more than 5,500 students oncampus.
A 2003 graduate of Western Michigan, Foster began her coachingcareer as an assistant on the prep level at Lansing Everett HighSchool in 2003-04. She then served as the assistant coach atKalamazoo Valley Community College in 2004 and 2005 before workingas a softball intern at her alma mater, Western Michigan, in2006. While at WMU, she was responsible for pregame eventmanagement, video evaluations, alumni relations and more.
Foster also spent time as a legislative assistant in the MichiganHouse of Representatives in Lansing for two years before serving asa graduate assistant instructor in the health, physical educationand recreation department at Western Michigan from 2004-06.
During her playing career at Western Michigan, Foster was atwo-time team Coaches Award recipient and earned Mid-AmericanConference (MAC) All-Tournament Team accolades in 2003 as theBroncos captured the tournament championship. She began hercollegiate career at Lansing Community College where seh claimedall-region kudos after leading the team to a second-place finish atthe NJCAA National Tournament in 2000.
In addition to earning a bachelor's degree from Western Michiganin business/marketing, Foster also received her master's degreefrom WMU in sport management. She has also attended theNational Fastpitch Coaches College directed by the NFCA where she'shad the opportunity to study the advanced analysis of hitting,pitching and short-game skills along with coaching dynamics andteam practice sessions.
Foster will take over a Bulldog program that posted a 31-24overall record during the 2012 campaign. FSU won 15 of its final 21contests en route to reaching the championship round of the GreatLakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament andnarrowly missing an NCAA Division II National Tournament bid.
"This program has an outstanding tradition and the transition willbe a lot easier with an established program," said Foster. "I'm excited to get started and look forward to continuing to buildon the success."
WHAT THEYARE SAYING ABOUT MARIE FOSTER:
"I'm real excited for Marie and I know she's eager to go towork. She's a young and well-organized coach who loves thegame and truly shows that passion. I know she'll work hardand do a tremendous job just as she's done both as a player andcoach over the years. It's exciting to have someone like heron your team."
- Kathy Leitke, Head Coach, Western Michigan
"Marie will do an outstanding job at Ferris State. It wasalways tough to recruit in South Dakota since we do not have highschool girls softball, but she was able to bring in talentedplayers who all stayed in school. She did many importantthings for our program beyond softball and I believe she'll do agreat job."
- Curt Hart, Athletic Director, DakotaWesleyan
"We were looking for someone who not only possessed head coachingexperience, but also had proven abilities in assessing talent, whoknew the state of Michigan and could utilize our Great LakesScholarship program at Ferris State. We wanted someone with ademonstrated ability to connect with and develop young players andwe feel this is a real strength of Marie's."
- Perk Weisenburger, Athletics Director, FerrisState University
"Ferris State has had an outstanding softball program in the pastand we look forward to Marie Foster continuing to build on thatsuccess. Her connections within the state of Michigan and previousexperience as a head coach will make the Bulldogs an exciting teamto watch in the years ahead."
- Jeff Ligney, Associate Commissioner for MediaRelations, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
"Marie is a young and hungry coach who will do an excellentjob. I know she'll run a classy program and do it the rightway. Her teams will play an agressive style and she'll be agreat hire for Ferris State."
- Rick Sandquist, Athletic Director & FormerHead Softball Coach, Iowa Central CC