Jim Foster, who won 783 games at Saint Joseph’s, Vanderbilt and the last 11 years at Ohio State, will not return as women’s basketball head coach next season, Ohio State announced on Tuesday.
Miechelle Willis, the Ohio State executive associate athletic director who oversees the program, said it was a mutual decision.
“There has been some discussion with the postseason production, or lack thereof,” she said when asked the reasons behind the move.
The end came after the first year he did not win 20 games with the Buckeyes nor lead the team to the NCAA tournament since taking over a losing program in 2002.
The statement issued by Ohio State did not specify if Foster had been fired or was retiring. He compiled a record of 279-82 (.722) in his tenure with the Buckeyes, departing as the program’s winningest coach in victories and percentage.
Foster, reached by phone by The Associated Press, declined to comment. Asked if he was leaving the program voluntarily, the 64-year-old Foster repeated that he had nothing to say.
“Jim Foster has meant so much to so many over his career,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said.
Smith did not immediately respond to a request to clarify whether Foster had been fired or had voluntarily stepped aside.
This season, Foster’s team went 18-13 and tied for eighth in the Big Ten with a 7-9 mark. Passed over by the NCAA, the Buckeyes declined to accept an offer to play in the WNIT.
Foster recruited eight consecutive Big Ten players of the year, from three-time winner Jessica Davenport (2005-07), through the only such four-time Big Ten honoree (of either gender) Jantel Lavender (2008-11) and 2012 winner Samantha Prahalis.
Ohio State won a Big Ten-record six consecutive conference regular-season titles under Foster (2005-10), four Big Ten tournament championships and made it to a school-record 10 NCAA tournaments in a row until this season. The Buckeyes struggled in January, winning just one of eight conference games, several of the losses coming while starting guard Amber Stokes, selected as the Big Ten’s top defensive player last season, was sidelined with a knee injury.
Asked if Foster had left voluntarily, Willis said, “It’s safe to say that there was a mutual agreement between both Jim and Ohio State that it was time for new leadership for our program.”