Northwestern University fired baseball head coach Jim Foster on Thursday, days after the university let football head coach Pat Fitzgerald go amid an investigation into hazing allegations.
Foster has been « relieved of his duties effective immediately, » athletic director Derrick Gragg said in a statement. announcement posted on the university’s athletics page.
Gragg did not provide details behind Foster’s termination, saying « many factors were considered » before the decision was made.
« Nothing will ever be more important to Northwestern than providing its students with a place that allows them to thrive in the classroom, community and compete at the absolute highest level, and build a culture that allows our people to thrive, » Gragg said.
« As director of athletics, I take ownership of our head coaching hires and will share our next steps as they unfold, » he added.
Northwestern baseball head coach Jim Foster was relieved of his duties effective immediately, Combe family vice president of athletics and recreation, Dr. Derrick Gragg, announced Thursday.https://t.co/C4HXwjJEE1
— Northwest Athletics (@NU_Sports) July 13, 2023
Assistant coach Brian Andersona former MLB player who won a World Series ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005 will take over as interim head coach.
While it’s unclear what led to Foster’s termination as head coach, either The Chicago Tribune AND 670 the score reported that Foster allegedly spearheaded a toxic culture within the baseball program, as his alleged bullying and verbal abuse behavior prompted a human resources investigation by the university.
670 the score reported that Foster would also make racist statements and discourage players from reporting their injuries. When asked about this allegation by the Chicago radio station, he denied all allegations, calling them « ridiculous. »
Both current and former players and alumni said The Tribune which alerted university officials to Foster’s behavior before the start of the 2023 season. The university investigation found « sufficient evidence » that Foster engaged in bullying and abuse, The Tribune reported.
A Northwest Athletics spokesman declined NPR’s request for comment regarding Foster’s investigation and termination.
Foster was hired in June 2022 by the university, which went 24-27 last season. Prior to his tenure at Northwestern, Foster was the head coach at point to the westwhere he led the Black Knights four consecutive championships and NCAA playoff tournament appearances.
News of Foster’s firing comes days after the university parted ways with its longtime football coach, Pat Fitzgerald, following an investigation into hazing allegations.
The university announced it previously suspended Fitzgerald for two weeks without pay after reviewing the investigation synthesis. Although the university said there was « insufficient » evidence that the coaches were aware of Fitzgerald’s misconduct, university president Michael Schill said Fitzgerald « Should have known. »
« Northwestern University is an amazing university with an outstanding athletic program. I am committed to ensuring that the misconduct that occurred in our football program is never repeated anywhere in our campus community, » Schill said in a letter to the community.
Northwestern has yet to name Fitzgerald’s replacement.
NPR’s Dustin Jones contributed to this report.