Foster ready to guide Eagles, even under the circumstances
When athletes go down with injuries or otherwise are unable to perform, coaches start talking about the next man up, signaling playing time for those lower on depth charts.
It works the same way with coaches, N.C. Central interim coach Dwayne Foster said.
“When you look at titles, such as an assistant head coach or things such as that, you’re put in a role where, if that were to occur, the next guy would be in line and ready to go,” Foster said.
Foster said he always wanted to be a college head coach. He just hadn’t counted on that happening the way that it did.
NCCU athletic director Ingrid Wicker-McCree said a week ago that Henry Frazier III’s personal life made it necessary for the school to terminate his head coaching duties.
A year ago, Frazier pleaded guilty to assaulting Lanier Turner-Frazier, who now is his ex-wife. Frazier was arrested last week for violating the domestic violence protective order that governs their relationship.
Both altercations resulted in Frazier being suspended with pay, with Foster given control of the football team. Frazier was reinstated after the 2012 suspension, but Wicker-McCree placed the team’s reins firmly in Foster’s hands this time.
“I’ve always thought about being a head coach,” Foster said.
Foster has been a head coach at the high school level, leading Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) for seven years and said he will draw on that experience, as well as his time as NCCU’s acting head coach, to lead the Eagles.
NCCU visits Duke for Saturday’s Bull City Gridiron Classic at Wallace Wade Stadium (4 p.m., ESPN3).
“My goal has always been to get back into this role,” Foster said. “It is a tough situation, but the games are going to be played. A season has to go on and they need a leader to get that done, and I’m appreciative that I’ve been appointed to get that done.”
Foster worked as one of Frazier’s assistant coaches at Bowie State and Prairie View A&M, where the two were part of a Southwestern Athletic Conference title.
“Coach Frazier is a dear friend of mine,” Foster said.
A year ago, the Eagles earned their first winning season since 2007, going 6-5 overall, 5-3 MEAC. The run fell short of a league title, but that’s still the goal, Foster said.
Foster stepped into his head-coaching role at NCCU with a solid rapport with the team’s offensive linemen, the position he has been coaching. But he said it always has been his practice to interact with the other guys on the squad, which made it easier to replace somebody like Frazier.
“Coach Frazier was an extremely likeable guy,” Foster said. “He was the leader of this program for three years. The student-athletes, the players want to play hard for him.
“I’m sure that he is in the back of their minds. But at the same time, we’re going to focus on the task at hand, which is that preparation for Duke and working hard to compete and get a win at Duke.”