By Joshua Price/Sports Editor
The varsity baseball program at Etowah High School is about to get a makeover, a very familiar makeover.
Etowah High School and the Attalla Board of Education announced on Thursday that Larry Foster will return as head coach of the Blue Devils’ varsity baseball team.
Foster served as head coach at Etowah from 1981 to 2004, and turned the shaky baseball program into a Class 5A powerhouse. Foster accumulated a 520-209 record during 24 seasons as head coach. During those years, Foster’s teams won three state championships (1985, 1987 and 1996) and competed in the state playoffs 18 times.
Foster’s 1996 championship team finished with a 38-6 record and was arguably one of the toughest teams he coached. Foster said in order to achieve that level of success on the field, the kids and parents will have to work hard.
“You have to work hard to be a winner,” Foster said. “You have to do things right everywhere, including the community, classroom and on the field. There are some inconsistencies here now in all those areas, but I think the kids we have are good enough to win ballgames.”
Foster returned to the diamond last year as head coach of Etowah Middle School’s baseball team. He has worked intensely with the youngsters, and molded them into a highly competitive team.
“We have a lot of talent coming up,” Foster said. “If we work hard enough and do what were supposed to, I think we will be where we want to be in two years. The kids have to be consistent pitching, hitting and on defense. I will work hard with them. I always tell them if they can out-work me out there they will be okay.”
Foster is synonymous with Etowah High School athletics. He graduated from Etowah High School in 1970. Foster played football and baseball at Etowah, and earned All-State honors in both sports. Foster signed a baseball scholarship with Jacksonville State University and played under Rudy Abbott.
Foster was very successful as a player at JSU. He was selected as an NAIA All-America player in 1971 and earned All-America honors from the NCAA in 1973. Foster was inducted into the JSU Hall of Fame in 1985. Foster played professional baseball in the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals organizations from 1973-78. He was inducted to the Etowah County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Foster replaces his former player Kevin Horton, who coached the Blue Devils the past two seasons.
“I am excited about the opportunity,” Foster added. “I will retire from teaching and will be able to focus more on baseball and coaching.”