Sports obituary: Dick Foster, one of West’s early football coaches, dies at 85

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

By Mike London

HICKORY — Richard “Dick” Foster, one of the early head coaches for West Rowan football, died in Hickory on Feb. 27.

Foster, who died at 85, was the second head coach of the Falcons.

Al McCue led the program for the first three years the school was open (1959-1961).

Foster coached the 1962 and 1963 West teams. The 1962 team went 0-9-1, losing a lot of 7-0 defensive struggles and battling to a scoreless tie with East Rowan.

The 1963 Falcons did better. They beat East Rowan 20-o on opening night for the first of Foster’s 175 victories  as a head football coach.

West also edged Children’s Home that season and tied North Rowan and Troutman. Foster’s final game at the helm of the Falcons was a 12-all deadlock with Troutman.

The next fall Foster began a long run at Bandys.

Foster was a legend as a running back in Caldwell County, breaking long touchdowns for Granite Falls High. He  had a host of college offers, but chose to play close to home for coach Clarence Stasavich at Lenoir-Rhyne. Known as Dickie Foster in those days, he was a letterman for the Bears on exceptional teams from 1956-59.

While Foster didn’t have much success as a young head coach at West Rowan, those years in Mount Ulla were a springboard for a legendary high school coaching career.

Foster was a head coach in 375 high school games over a 34-year period. His career record was 175-191-9. The Chris Hobbs Report credits Foster with 16 winning seasons, 16 losing seasons and two seasons in which his teams broke even.

Foster coached at Bandys for 14 seasons (1964-77), nine at Fred T. Foard (1978-86)  and nine more at St. Stephens (1987-96). He was a major factor in increased success at Foard and St. Stephens, where the football programs traditionally had struggled.

Foster coached the St. Stephens team that lost to East Rowan in the second round of the 1991 state playoffs.

He finished his coaching career as running backs coach at Lenoir-Rhyne from 1997-2002.

Foster was inducted into the Caldwell Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Catawba County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.