Foster, Lunch Pail Defense Foundation to endow scholarship with Tech athletics

BLACKSBURG – Bud Foster has committed three decades of his life to the Virginia Tech football program and to the university, and now he has decided to commit more than just his football expertise, as the Virginia Tech Athletics Department announced today that the longtime defensive coordinator has agreed to commit $100,000 through his Lunch Pail Defense Foundation to endow a scholarship for athletics.

The scholarship – called “The Bud Foster Lunch Pail Defense Foundation Athletic Scholarship” – will be awarded annually to a football student-athlete, with preference given to a first-generation college student who shows a demonstrated financial need.

“It’s just a way for me to give back to the university and to a department that has been so good to me for 30-plus years,” Foster said. “We’ve had the Lunch Pail Defense Foundation for several years, and we created it for scholarship purposes for kids in the New River Valley and the Roanoke Valley. We just felt like, as we moved forward, with what the lunch pail is all about and what it means to the university and to the program … it felt like a no-brainer to get people involved and help endow a scholarship for the department and deserving student-athletes.

“There are so many coaches, administrators, fans and alums who are doing their part to help the Hokie Club and promote the Drive for 25. I just felt like it was time for us to jump in, too and do our part. Hopefully it will inspire other Hokies to get involved at whatever level they can. We’re all in it together, as Coach Beamer used to say.”

Several years ago, Foster established his foundation, a charity whose purpose is to raise money to fund academic scholarships for eligible high school students from the New River and Roanoke Valley areas. Foster and the review board seek students who not only need financial assistance, but also those who best exhibit a “lunch pail” mentality – with traits such as work ethic, character and determination.

Using proceeds raised from a summer golf tournament at Auburn Hills and from various dinners held throughout the state, the Lunch Pail Defense Foundation has previously awarded 27 scholarships of varying dollar amounts to students from these areas for a total of nearly $100,000.

A couple of years ago, Foster expanded the charity’s scope, creating the “Organ Transplant Family Support Program” in conjunction with Duke University Medical Center. This program assists families by providing financial resources to cover the expenses incurred by families during an organ transplant procedure – things such as lodging, transportation, meals and child care. The program resonates deeply with Foster, whose father underwent an extensive medical procedure several years ago at Washington University in St. Louis, not far from Foster’s hometown of Nokomis, Illinois.

“Bud has been, and obviously still is is a heck of a football coach,” Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “He’s more than just a coach, however. He believes in Virginia Tech and what it stands for. He loves this community and the people. He’s part of the fabric of this place.

“We admire his Foundation’s diligent commitment to giving back to young people in Southwest Virginia and to families who have incurred expenses related to medical issues – both causes that are near and dear to him. We’re honored that the Lunch Pail Defense Foundation has also chosen to additionally support students with demonstrated needs at Virginia Tech who happen to also play varsity football. It’s a perfect fit. Through his generosity, we will be able to continue helping current and future Hokies excel in every phase of their lives for generations to come. We are really proud of Coach Foster and thankful for this additional legacy he is establishing.”

Foster, who stands as the longest-tenured assistant among FBS staffs, came to Virginia Tech as an inside linebackers coach on legendary head coach Frank Beamer’s original staff in 1987. He became the co-defensive coordinator in 1995, and a year later, took over sole possession of that role. Under him, Virginia Tech’s defense has finished in the top five nationally in scoring defense on six occasions, including leading the nation in 1999 and 2006, and the Hokies led the nation in total defense in both 2005 and 2006.

Foster won the prestigious Broyles Award in 2006, and since he took over as the sole defensive coordinator in 1996, Virginia Tech ranks first nationally in both total sacks and interceptions.

Foster became another in a long line of Virginia Tech Athletics Department family members to commit financially to the Drive for 25, an initiative designed to increase the Hokie Club’s membership to 25,000, which in turn, helps provide student-athletes with scholarships for a Virginia Tech education and resources to be successful in the classroom, in competition and in the community. Just last year, men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams endowed two scholarships – one to go to an undergraduate student who is registered with the Services for Students with Disabilities and one to go to a first-generation female student-athlete who intends to purse a career in post-secondary (college) education.

For more information on how you can join and commit to the Drive for 25, please visit Or for those interested in learning more about the Lunch Pail Defense Foundation, please visit

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