Bill Foster, Clemson’s only Elite Eight coach, passes away

CLEMSON – Bill Foster, the only man to coach Clemson basketball to the Elite Eight, died Wednesday after a lengthy bout with Parkinson’s disease.

A native of Hemingway, S.C., Foster passed away in Charlotte. He was 79.

Foster led the Tigers for nine years, from 1976-84, the third of five stops during a coaching career spanning 30 years. Clemson’s only Elite Eight berth came in 1980, beating a school-record six top 20 opponents and notching the program’s only victory against No. 1, 87-82 in overtime over top-ranked Duke at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 9, 1980.

Foster was 532-325 during his career at Shorter, UNC Charlotte, Clemson, Miami and Virginia Tech. He also served as an assistant coach at The Citadel for two seasons.

His 156-106 record at Clemson ranks him second only to Cliff Ellis in total wins.

He guided Tree Rollins, Larry Nance and Horace Grant to eventual first-round NBA Draft selections, the first three out of seven overall in Tigers history.

Foster was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 2001.