While serving as the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball coach is Jim Foster's newest and primary professional responsibility, it's not his only one.
Hired by new UTC athletic director David Blackburn last week, Foster is still putting his coaching staff together. And he is at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., this weekend.
Chair of the USA Basketball women's junior national team committee, the 35-year coaching veteran will be evaluating talent and putting together squads for the upcoming World University Games and FIBA Under-19 World Championship.
Also on the committee are Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb, California coach Lindsay Gottlieb, Central Florida coach Joe Williams and former Tennessee great Kara Lawson.
"I think every experience you have makes you better," Foster said of his work with USA Basketball. "It gives you the opportunity to get better at what you do. I've been fortunate enough to coach Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Teresa Edwards -- I just named four Hall of Fame players -- and it's a treat."
Foster is in the midst of a four-year commitment to USA Basketball, one of many he's made over the years. He began working with the organization in 1987. Among his roles, he was an assistant coach on the bronze-medal 1992 Olympic team and was head coach of the gold-winning 1997 World University Games team, as well as serving on various committees.
He was named the 2003 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year after winning gold as the head coach of that year's World Championship for Young Women team, comprised of 21-and-under athletes.
Prior to UTC, Foster had coaching stints of at least 11 years at St. Joseph's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State. Those teams had talent -- he's the only coach ever to win at least 200 games at three NCAA Division I schools -- but the national team is an all-star squad.
"If you're coaching the national team, you're coaching one of the best teams in the world, if not the best team in the world," he said. "If you're coaching an age group, you're competing, generally speaking, for a world championship. You're getting 12 very talented players, and generally speaking 12 strong egos, to share a ball."
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