Northwestern fired baseball coach Jim Foster on Thursday, the school announced.
Foster’s dismissal came after allegations of bullying and a toxic environment within the program, sources said.
“Nothing will ever be more important to Northwestern than providing its students a place that allows them to develop in the classroom, in the community, and in competition at the absolute highest level, and building a culture which allows our staff to thrive,” athletic director Derrick Gragg said in a statement. “This has been an ongoing situation and many factors were considered before reaching this resolution. As the Director of Athletics, I take ownership of our head coaching hires and we will share our next steps as they unfold.”
Gragg, who hired Foster in June 2022, informed players of the coach’s firing, sources said.
Foster had been investigated by the university’s human resources department before the season. The probe found evidence that Foster “engaged in bullying and abusive behavior,” according to a document obtained by the Chicago Tribune, and made an inappropriate comment about a female staff member.
The document was set to be shared with athletic department leaders to “take remedial action” against Foster, but he coached the season without any formal discipline, according to the Tribune.
Northwestern had several coaches depart the program in February, and the team struggled to a 10-40 record. After the season, 16 players reportedly entered the transfer portal.
Radio station 670 The Score in Chicago reported that Foster discouraged players from seeking medical attention for injuries and that players hid their injuries from him. The station also reported that Northwestern coaches and other staff members attempted to meet with Gragg but were denied an opportunity.
A source told ESPN that Foster likely would have been fired earlier, but Northwestern’s legal and human resources departments were focused on Monday’s firing of football coach Pat Fitzgerald in the wake of a hazing investigation into the program. Fitzgerald, Northwestern’s football coach since 2006, was fired three days after the school announced a two-week suspension upon completion of an investigation it had commissioned.
Foster came to Northwestern from Army, where he coached from 2017 to 2022 and won four Patriot League titles.
Assistant coach Brian Anderson will oversee the program following Foster’s exit, the school said.