Northwestern fires baseball coach Jim Foster after allegations of bullying

Adam RittenbergSenior writer for ESPNJuly 13, 2023 at 07:32 p.m. ET2 minutes to read

The Northwestern school announced the firing of baseball coach Jim Foster on Thursday.

Sources said Foster’s dismissal followed allegations of bullying and a toxic environment within the programme.

“Nothing could be more important at Northwestern University than providing a place for its students that allows them to thrive in the classroom, in the community, and in competition at the highest level ever, and building a culture that allows our people to thrive,” Director Derek Garage said in a statement. “This has been an ongoing situation and many factors were considered before reaching this decision. As Director of Athletics, I take charge of our coaches’ appointments and will share our next steps as they unfold.”

Sources said Garage, who hired Foster in June 2022, notified the players of his firing.

Foster had come under investigation by the university’s human resources department prior to the season. The investigation found evidence that Foster “engaged in bullying and abusive conduct,” according to a document obtained by the Chicago Tribune, and made an inappropriate comment about a female employee.

The document was to be shared with the leaders of the athletic departments to “take corrective action” against Foster, but he coached the season without any formal discipline, according to the Tribune.

Northwestern had several coaches leave the program in February, and the team struggled to a 10-40 record. After the season, 16 players were reported to have entered the transfer portal.

Chicago radio station 670 The Score reported that Foster discouraged players from seeking medical attention for injuries and that players hid their injuries from him. The station also reported that Northwestern coaches and other employees had tried to meet Garage but were denied an opportunity.

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Foster was likely to be fired earlier, a source told ESPN, but Northwestern’s human resources and legal departments focused on firing head football coach Pat Fitzgerald on Monday in the wake of a disturbing investigation into the program. Fitzgerald, Northwestern’s head football coach since 2006, was fired three days after the school announced a two-week suspension upon completion of an investigation it had assigned.

Foster came to Northwestern from Army, where he coached from 2017 to 2022 and won four Patriot League titles.

The school said assistant coach Brian Anderson will oversee the program after Foster’s exit.

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