Editor’s note: Buckhannon-Upshur’s Travis Foster announced his resignation as head coach of the boy’s basketball program. Coach Foster wrote the following letter to the community announcing his retirement.
With over 15 years of coaching experience and almost all of it in Upshur County, it is time for me to step off the court and away from my position as the Buckhannon-Upshur boys’ head basketball coach. In doing so, I would like to take some time to share some of my thoughts and appreciation for the community and program.
My goal from day one was to play the best teams in the state rather than just schedule the easy wins. I wanted to show kids success through failure and give them the opportunity to work for it. I’m proud that during my time as coach, my staff and teams played several potential state champions at both the AAA and AAAA levels. We took honor in playing one of the hardest schedules in the state for AAAA.
We stunned those areas with signature wins from Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Wheeling Park, Musselman, Capital and Bridgeport, as well as upsetting the number one school in Pennsylvania, Meadville, at the Brooke Classic a few years ago. We fell short of big wins to several other powerhouses, and at the same time, we lost to teams that we shouldn’t have. That’s the great thing about the game of basketball – with hard work, a positive mind, and the right process, you can win on any given night.
My passion for this sport and our program is without bounds, making my exit a hard choice. That being said, I’ll admit that I am looking forward to taking a break and possibly getting back after it when the time is right. I’m excited to finally be able to enjoy the snow months, the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and most importantly, to spend as much time as possible with my little girl. I’m switching my directives from scrimmages and free throws to learning how to fix a little girl’s hair, playing barbies and just being the best daddy possible. I’m ready to learn from her as much as I can and sit on another sideline of life, with the amount of time I am given.
Before heading out, there are many people I would like to recognize for their support and commitment.
First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my players, including every player who had the courage to try out for my teams, every player who made my teams, every player who didn’t make it through seasons with me, every player who did or didn’t like me, and most importantly, every player who believed in me and made it through some very tough years. With the same goal in mind, we worked hard to turn the program around and put B-U back on the map.
I would also like to thank each parent who understood my style of coaching and how I ran things, and also the ones who didn’t. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you no matter where you fell in those ranks. I learned a great deal from the good and the bad. Parents, please remember not to expect any coach to turn your kid into an all-star during the season, without first expecting your child to put in even more work outside of that season. It is 2022, and well past time to make your kid responsible for his or her success. Do they want it? Help them understand that only THEY can make it happen. Teach them to use the internet to be successful, not as a way to make excuses. Don’t like your results? Change it. Make your kids accountable.
To my coaches: thank you for believing in me when it wasn’t popular. Coach Hatcher, Coach Hurst, Coach Wolverton, and Coach Burgess, I am grateful to you for your support and as always, for dealing with my detailed ways. Thank you for what you have done for me and even more so for our kids. I would also like to thank the administration who believed in me and the ones who didn’t. You both pushed me as a person and as a coach.
To the game officials in the state: We had our differences at times, but the respect I have for you is unparalleled. Without you, there would be no sports, no chance for a kid to get a scholarship and no chance for a community to come together on game nights. We often take for granted the opportunity to get away from life’s daily struggles and enjoy a great game of ball, and in doing so, we take for granted the people making it happen and happen safely. Thank you for all you do. Even the few that made me sit in timeouts with a game technical or so, 😊.
I also want to thank the media and sports writers who at first didn’t even know or care who the Buckhannon-Upshur boys were. With your help, we have become a team that is highlighted, watched very closely, and respected all over the state, both on and off the court. We are no longer a team to be pushed around or overlooked. I’m honored to have built relationships with each of you, through good and bad times. I wanted to change the culture at Buckhannon-Upshur, and you met me in that endeavor.
To my fellow coaches across the state: I have been able to build lifelong friendships with many of you, both on and off the court. Working alongside you was a learning experience, and it allowed me to see the game in a different way. From those of you leading teams in the Big 10, AAA, and in AAAA, the toughest division in the state from my experience, thank you for letting me stand across from you and for continuing to work for our kids. I want to especially thank the coaches of those well-known “powerhouse” schools that had never stepped foot in Buckhannon for giving us the chance to hold our own against them. To all coaches: this can be a thankless job. Remember why you are here, and how we can work together to bring more to our programs.
To my successors: I have reduced this upcoming 2022-2023 strength of schedule to help you build the program and excitement for the team. Don’t focus on seeing a top 10 team night in and night out; just keep the program building and respected around the state. Remember that a coach is a coach no matter what level you’re coaching at and whatever sport you choose. Keep it about the kids and stay true to yourself, especially when the decisions aren’t popular. Don’t play a last name or bank account of a player and remember that every kid deserves your time and coaching. I wish nothing but success for you.
I’d like to leave you with some thoughts that I often preach to my players, my kids, my employees and myself. . .
HARDWORK + NO EXCUSES = SUCCESS!
“Believe in the process. Trust the process. Don’t rush the process.”
There is no time limit on success. It will happen when it is ready and when you have earned it.
From my little girl, Caroline, and myself, thank you for allowing me to represent you and this great town of Buckhannon as your varsity basketball coach. We hope that our excitement and energy gave you something to believe in and brought pride back onto the court to support the Buccaneers!
Coach Travis Foster, Aug. 22, 2022