Ferris State University head softball coach Marie Foster has resigned in order to accept a position at another institution, as announced by the Bulldog Athletics Department earlier today.
Although Foster’s new position has not been confirmed by her or the university. Ferris senior pitcher Amy Dunleavy told The Torch that Foster sent an email to the team informing the players that she had accepted an assistant coaching position at her alma mater, Western Michigan University.
“My whole experience at Ferris State was very positive,” Foster said. “The job offer wasn’t something I was pursuing.”
The Broncos finished 16-33 overall last season and 7-13 in conference play, one win out of participating in the Mid-American Conference tournament.
Foster’s departure marks the third Ferris head softball coach to do so in the past three years.
While coaching stability is generally a staple of successful college athletic programs, the Bulldogs have had three winning seasons despite yearly coaching changes. The 2012-13 season was the team’s most noteworthy in recent history during which Ferris advanced to the NCAA tournament.
However, the tourney appearance wasn’t enough to keep Foster with the program.
“I was very surprised to hear the news,” Dunleavy said. “This is the fourth coaching change in four years.”
Mercifully for the Bulldogs, Dawn Thompson, who is extremely familiar with the Ferris softball program, will step in as interim head coach.
Thompson, who has been an assistant coach at Ferris for five seasons, was the interim head coach during the 2011-12 season after the departure of longtime head coach Keri Becker. While at the helm, Thompson guided the Bulldogs to a 31-24 record.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to lead Ferris State Softball,” Thompson said. “It’s a program with a strong tradition of success, and I look forward to working with our student-athletes in an effort to continue this success.”
Thompson will keep the interim tag for now, but a replacement is expected to be searched for during the fall and winter if necessary.
“I am excited that Dawn will be back, even if it is just temporary,” Dunleavy said. “She has a lot of experience with the program and will offer a little consistency.”
Yet another head coaching change is certainly a shock to the program, but even players that expected to compete under Foster seem confident in the face of adverse conditions.
“I was recruited originally by [Thompson],” freshman communications major Megan Hiler said. “At first, I was shocked, but I understand that it was a career decision, and I look forward to having Coach Dawn Thompson coach our team.”
Under Foster, the Bulldogs finished the 2012-13 season with a 29-16 overall record and second in the conference standings.
“Marie has made a tough decision to leave Ferris State and the timing makes it difficult with school starting next week. We wish her the best and thank her for her efforts at Ferris State,” FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger told Ferrisstatebulldogs.com.
As for the amount of coaching turnover and lack of continuity, it seems the team has simply grown impervious to such distractions.
“Our student-athletes have faced adversity before and have always been up for the challenge. We have a talented team,” Thompson said. “I’m confident we will continue to compete at a high level.