PirateIllustrated - Chris Foster Officially Named Running Backs Coach at ECU
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Chris Foster Officially Named Running Backs Coach at ECU

Chris Foster arrives at ECU with a reputation for coaching solid running backs and recruiting quality players.
Chris Foster arrives at ECU with a reputation for coaching solid running backs and recruiting quality players. (Georgia Southern photo)

On Monday, East Carolina officially named Chris Foster their new running backs coach in an announcement from head coach Mike Houston.

The 17-year coaching veteran comes over from Georgia Southern where he also served in the same capacity in addition to the team’s recruiting coordinator.

Foster helped lead the Eagles to three bowl appearances for a squad that ranked second nationally in the FBS in rushing from 2018-2020 with 10,225 yards.

He spent a total of 12 years coaching running backs at Maryville (2015), Appalachian State (2012-2014) andr Gardner-Webb from 2004-2011 where he also is a graduate. He is responsible for 12 all-conference selections, a pair of All-America honorees, a league rookie-of-the-year selection and produced five National Football League players.

Foster's unit combined to rush for 2,427 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. The Eagle offense stood first in the Sun Belt Conference and fifth in the country at 267.1 rushing yards per game in an 8-5 season that culminated in a 38-3 win over Louisiana Tech in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, coached by former ECU head coach Skip Holtz. He was also Georgia Southern's nominee for the Broyles Award, which is annually awarded to the nation’s top assistant coach.

The Eagles ranked seventh among all FBS teams a year earlier with a 253.2 ground yards per game clip. Individually, Wesley Kennedy III tallied 11 rushing touchdowns in just nine games and teamed with J.D. King to combine for over 1,600 yards rushing and 19 scores.

In addition to directing Georgia Southern’s running backs, Foster was the team’s recruiting coordinator and was elevated to associate head coach in 2019.

"Chris' credentials are wide-ranging and certainly well-respected in our business. His reputation as a leader and communicator runs deep and have few equals in our business and we're thrilled he is a Pirate,” Houston stated, “In addition to his documented success in the run game, his relationships and ties in our state and region will provide quite a recruiting impact for our program."

Prior to his tenure in Statesboro, he provided 12 years of positional leadership to ball-carriers at Maryville (2015), Appalachian State (2012-2014) and alma mater Gardner-Webb (2004-2011). In all, Foster has mentored 12 all-conference selections, a pair of All-America honorees, a league rookie-of-the-year pick and produced five National Football League players.

Before going to Georgia Southern, Foster served as running backs coach at Maryville (Tenn.) College during the 2015 campaign. He helped the Scots to a 257.4 rushing yards per game average and 29 touchdowns while developing first-team all-conference pick Deshjion Whitlock and three seasons at Appalachian State where he mentored three all-conference selections and a pair of FCS All-Americans, who turned in arguably the top two rushing campaigns in program history at the time.

In 2013, Marcus Cox set Mountaineer rookie records with 1,250 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns on the way to being named the Southern Conference Freshman-of-the Year, placing second in voting for the Jerry Rice Award FCS Freshman-of-the-Year.. Cox also set a new SoCon record by being named the league’s Freshman-of-the-Week on six occasions in just 10 starts.

In his first season at Appalachian State in 2012, which resulted in a league title, Steven Miller rushed for 1,368 yards (16th nationally), caught 34 passes for 377 yards and scored 15 touchdowns (11 rushing, four receiving) in Foster’s only season as his mentor.

Foster came to Appalachian State from Gardner-Webb, where he served as the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ running backs coach for eight years beginning in 2004 and was part of a staff that produced the top total offense ranking in the Big South Conference (and 10th nationally.

He directly worked with five All-Big South performers at GWU, including one in each of his final three years in Boiling Springs. In Foster’s final campaign in 2012, running back Kenny Little became the Bulldogs’ first 1,000-yard rusher in 11 years.

During his tenure at Gardner-Webb, Foster also served as the staff’s primary academic advisor and top recruiter. Additionally, he oversaw the program’s strength and conditioning activities on an interim basis in 2006.

Foster began his coaching career after graduation from Gardner-Webb, where he was one of the program’s all-time rushing leaders from 2000 to 2003. A two-time all-Big South performer, he ranked sixth in GWU history at the time of his graduation with 1,883 career rushing yards. A two-time first-team academic all-district honoree, Foster was one of only two student-athletes in team history to earn the prestigious recognition multiple times.

A Chesnee, S.C., native, Foster was a South Carolina Mr. Football award finalist and the Appalachian 2A Conference Player-of-the-Year at Chesnee High School in 2000. He graduated from GWU in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

Foster has two daughters, Journei and Bella, and is engaged to Jennifer Foster.