Clarion’s Jay Foster Retires as Golden Eagle Football Coach

Coach Foster ics 1CLARION, Pa. – Jay Foster, who has been the head football coach at Clarion University for the past nine seasons, announced his retirement today.

A national search will begin immediately to determine his successor.

“I have coached for 28 years in the State System (PASSHE), and in looking at everything across the board, felt the time was right for me to retire from the system,” said Foster. “I devoted myself over the last nine years to advance Clarion football and feel we made a lot of progress. I just feel this is the right time to retire and the right thing to do for the program, myself and my family. I’d like to thank everyone at Clarion who supported us during my tenure, especially our coaches, student-athletes, staff and alumni and friends of the university. I wish the program every success in the days ahead. I love coaching football and my goal is to continue coaching somewhere in the future.”

Foster, named the head coach at Clarion on February 8, 2006, put together a record of 29-70 over nine seasons (2006 – 2014).

His best year was in 2009 when the Golden Eagles were 8-3 overall, along with finishing second in the PSAC-Western Division with a 6-1 league record. Clarion finished the season ranked 8th in the final NCAA Division II East Region Poll, narrowly missing the NCAA Playoffs.

Foster was named the PSAC-Western Division “Coach of the Year” for his efforts. He also had records of 4-7 overall and 2-5 in the West in 2013 and 2012, and 4-7 overall and 3-4 in the West in 2010.

“We wish Jay the best of luck in his future endeavors and sincerely thank him for his hard work, dedication and sacrifice over the past nine years to advance Clarion football,” said A.D. Dave Katis. “He has had a distinguished coaching career, but more important than that, he is a coach of strong personal character who was committed to the academic performance of his student athletes and was always a positive role model for our young men both on and off the field.”

Foster had three, first team Academic All-Americans at Clarion during his nine seasons.

Nick Sipes was a First Team ESPN Academic All-America in 2010, Shawn Sopic (2011) and Mike Felker (2013) First Team Capital One Academic All-Americans. When Felker was named a first team selection only a year ago, he was only the seventh in school history since the national award was started in 1971, and Foster had coached three of those seven.

On the gridiron Foster also coached at least one football All-American in his first eight seasons, and likely another one in 2014 with Julian Howsare.

“One of the reasons I decided to retire at this time was also to help the university conduct a coaching search as soon as possible,” said Foster. “This will help the program continue to move forward.”

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Foster’s retirement comes on the heels of President Karen Whitney’s announcement November 19 that Clarion was adopting a number of recommendations from the Clarion University Intercollegiate Athletics Task Force.

Whitney announced that the university will strategically invest to increase Clarion’s ability to compete, through advanced scholarship funding in four current athletic programs, including football.

Whitney said, “this plan ushers in a new era of excellence for our intercollegiate sports programs. I am confident that courageously acting upon this plan will increase our intercollegiate student athlete competitiveness and will place us in a position to build upon our heritage of winning programs.”

Foster came to Clarion from Slippery Rock where he was a coach for 18 seasons (1988-2005), including the last 17 as Defensive Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator for 12 years (1988-2000).

A coach under Dr. George Mihalik at SRU, Jay was part of every success during those 18-years. Slippery Rock was 120-73-4 (61.9%) since 1988 including 3 NCAA Division II Playoff invitations and 4 PSAC-West titles.

Slippery Rock won four straight PSAC-West crowns (1997-2000), was an NCAA D-II semifinalist in 1998 and ranked second in the nation in 1999.

A native of Berwick, Maine, Jay attended Noble High School and graduated in 1977. He was captain of both the football and basketball teams. He attended Plymouth State College (N.H.) and was a starter his junior and senior years at free safety in 1983 and 1984. He was an All New England choice in 1983 and the team was selected for the NCAA D-III Playoffs in 1984.

Foster was a graduate assistant coach at West Chester in 1986 & 87 under Danny Hale, where the Rams won 2 PSAC-East titles, before heading to Slippery Rock.

Foster and wife Dorry have three children including sons Zach and Thom, along with a daughter Brogan.

CLARION NOTES: All of Clarion’s assistant coaches are under contract through the 2015 season and will continue recruiting and preparations for Spring 2015 practice – according to A.D. Dave Katis. Foster was the 11th head football coach at Clarion since 1926. Those coaches since 1926 have been A. Von Lehsten (1926), J.O. Jones (1927-34), Waldo S. Tippin (1935-47; 52-56), Bob Moore (1948-49), Benton Kribbs (1950-51), Ernest Johnson (1957-62), Al Jacks (1963-81), Charles Ruslavage (1982), Gene Sobolewski (1983-93), Malen Luke (1994 – 2005) and Foster (2006-2014) … Clarion’s football record since 1926 is 387-370-17 … Jacks was the winningest coach in Clarion history with a 128-46-5 (72.9%) mark including 6 PSAC-West titles and three PSAC crowns.

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