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HOF Dean Foster returns to the bench at O.D.

June 19, 2013
By

 

South Bend Tribune

Coaching high school basketball is a young man’s game.

At least that’s the impression Dean Foster was getting.

At 66 years old, a veteran of 36 seasons as a head coach with a resume that includes a 436-360 record at six schools with one State Finals appearance, Foster couldn’t get a job, no matter how hard he tried.

“I can’t ever say it’s your age, but if you have what you have behind you and not get some jobs, you start to wonder,” Foster said.

After starting his coaching career at Taft High in Cincinnati, Foster has had stops at Bremen, Elkhart Central, Penn, Richmond and Jennings County. He took the Blue Blazers to the Class 4-A state championship game in 2001.

The last two years, while serving as an assistant at Central and Mishawaka, Foster has been knocking on doors all across the state.

Tuesday, Greg Estok finally answered.

Estok, athletic director at Oregon-Davis, brought Foster aboard as the Bobcats’ head coach.

“We’ve been through a lot of new coaches,” Estok said.

Since Travis Hannah led O-D to a 27-1 record and the Class 1-A state championship, the Bobcats have gone 23-100.

“We want someone with experience and discipline,” Estok said.

“Bremen was the smallest school I’ve been at until now,” Foster said. “I watched the guys at a tournament last weekend at Bethel. There’s some talent there. It just needs to be developed.”

The current O-D players were old enough to appreciate what that state championship team was able to accomplish, though maybe not completely understand the work it took to get such an achievement.

“They proved it can be done here,” Foster said. “Our players have to understand that.”

Foster also pointed to the O-D girls team, which has been able to maintain a high level since winning the title the same year as the boys. That sort of an example shouldn’t be lost on the Bobcats.

“When I started in this business, I figured I’d be able to get 10 jobs throughout my career,” Foster said. “Now you realize, you can’t ever be sure you’ll get that chance back again. This time around, the game and the job have a bigger meaning.

“I just hope by the time I leave Oregon-Davis that we’re back to one-class basketball.”

He couldn’t resist a chance to get the one last jab in.

Yep, Dean’s back.

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