Knoch graduate building Pine-Richland girls program
By D.j. Vasil
Published: Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, 6:09 p.m.
Cliff Foster moved into the Pine-Richland School District 10 years ago but never thought about coaching high school girls basketball.
That was until he received a phone call from the soon-to-be ex-Pine-Richland girls coach Molly Copple before last season. She suggested Foster be her replacement and the idea blossomed for Foster, a former standout guard at Knoch.
“She called me and said she was moving to Detroit and couldn't think of anyone else that she would want to take over,” Foster said. “I was shocked. It came out of nowhere. It was something that I never thought about. I was just being a dad at the time.”
Foster, who graduated from Knoch in 2000, came to the conclusion that it was a perfect fit for him.
He is now in his second year coaching the Rams. It was tough sledding for him in the first season as his team finished with a 5-17 record. He entered that season with little experience among his current players.
“It's really just kind of a fresh start,” he said. “It's also about rebuilding the culture, just the content of mediocrity which is a Pine-Richland thing. That's what I'm trying to change and Josh Shoop, our athletic director, is trying to change from his seat.”
Shoop is the former athletic director at Knoch who left to take the same position at Pine-Richland in the summer of 2012. Having Shoop as an athletic director made Foster even more comfortable when he accepted the position.
Foster's coaching philosophy is simple: utilize team speed and play up-tempo basketball.
It has paid off this season. Pine-Richland started the season with four consecutive wins and took a 5-3 mark into the Mars Holiday Tournament late last week.
Through all of the stress that comes with being a head coach, finding small details to enjoy can be essential to a long and lengthy tenure. The relationships Foster develops with his players and parents are what he enjoys most about coaching.
“I've always been a caretaker as a father and husband,” he said. “I like to take care of people, and the high school position is a platform for that.”
Foster had success against Pine-Richland as a player. During his senior year, he knocked down a buzz-beater to beat Pine-Richland. He averaged 20 points per game his senior year. He scored 41 points against Mohawk.
As a college basketball player at La Roche College, he became the all-time leader in assists (636) and steals (238). He is a member of the Redhawks' Sports Hall of Fame.
“Consistency is one of the greatest lack of talents,” Foster said. “People can't stay consistent with things, the idea of sticking with a plan for as long as it takes. It won't take that long for us, we're close to turning the corner.”
D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- High school notebook: Lincoln Park looking forward to rematch with Johnsonburg
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss
- Cold shooting dooms Apollo-Ridge boys in playoff loss to Quaker Valley
- Breaking down the WPIAL basketball finals
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- Free-throw shooting keys Fox Chapel’s opening-round win
- Lady Trojans set for PIAA playoffs
- Frazier, EF girls set to hit PIAA road
- Charleroi’s Woytovich makes 5-AA first team