I have good news to share on former Duke basketball coach Bill Foster, who led one of the Blue Devils’ most beloved teams to the national title game in 1978.
If all goes well, Foster will be able to go home to Texas within 3-5 more days.
Foster, 86, was admitted to a Charlotte hospital with several lingering health problems in early September. He had been in the Carolinas visiting his family – one of his daughters, Debbie Foster, lives in the Charlotte area.
After a stay of close to a week in the hospital, Foster transferred to a rehabilitative facility in Charlotte and began physical therapy. He has stayed there for more than a week and is getting close to well enough to travel.
The Foster family reached out to me a couple of weeks ago, asking if I could help let people know of Foster’s illness and to pass along an email address and a physical address where people could send him notes of encouragement.
Bill Foster’s best team ever came at Duke in 1977-78 and featured Gene Banks, Mike Gminski and Jim Spanarkel. The team advanced to the national final before losing to Kentucky, which was paced by Jack “Goose” Givens’ 41 points.
I did so, and you all made Foster feel great by sending along well over a hundred personal emails and cards. They came from all sorts of people – former Duke students, former South Carolina students (Foster also coached the Gamecocks) and ACC commissioner John Swofford all wrote. There were even some nice emails from former UNC fans who wrote to say they still didn’t like Duke but that they had always admired the coach.
Foster kept everything that was sent. He has already read them all and has them packed in his briefcase to go back to Texas.
“He is doing much better,” Debbie Foster wrote me recently. “(Foster and his wife) will travel back to Texas at the end of next week where he will continue his physical therapy. He wants to thank everyone for the emails and cards with their well wishes and prayers. We are all overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.”