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The Lunchpail Podcast | Special Guest: Bud Foster

By Billy Ray Mitchell | October 06
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Coach Foster on the shoulders of Virginia Tech defensive linemen Norell Pollard (L) and Emmanuel Belmar (R) holding the iconic lunchpail.

If former Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer was the man who built Blacksburg, then former defensive coordinator Bud Foster was the bulldozer that paved the way. Coach Foster embodies what it means to be a Hokie. He cares for his family, he cares for his former players, he cares for the New River Valley, and he is the living personification of hard work. When he followed Coach Beamer to Blacksburg back in the late 1980's, I don't think either of them quite understood what they would accomplish together.

There were countless top tier bowl appearances, there was a national championship run and there was most certainly heartbreak on and off the football field. But one thing remained constant throughout all of those things: The Lunch Pail mentality.

To the uninitiated, the Lunch Pail mentality is a mantra that is synonymous with grit, determination, mental and physical toughness, loyalty, and hard work. Coach Foster's father used to carry a metal lunch pail to work every day, and he viewed that lunch pail as a symbol. The lunch pail represented rolling up one's sleeves, not making any excuses, pushing through the hard times, and focusing on WIN, or What's Important Now.

From 1995 to 2019, Coach Foster's defenses terrorized opposing teams' offenses year in and year out. When you played the Hokies, you were in for one long, agonizing game. Teams feared us because of Coach Foster. The Lunch Pail Defense (LPD) was quite literally the beast under your bed, in your closet, and in your head. Whether it was Ike Charlton putting Pat Woodcock to sleep or Macho Harris popping Jacoby Ford like a zit, the Hokies hit, and they hit HARD.

At the beginning of last season, Coach Foster announced that he would be retiring from his position as Virginia Tech defensive coordinator. Retiring with him would also be the rusty, black and orange painted Lunch Pail that the team carried with them every single game. While the Coach Foster and the Lunch Pail have retired, three star pupils have emerged on the Hokies' defensive staff.

Lunch Pail Defense products such as new defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton, co-defensive line coach Darryl Tapp, and defensive quality control coach Jack Tyler all have important roles in helping the Hokies succeed this season. Coach Bud Foster will be watching them flourish from a social distance, making some beer battered chicken on the banks of Claytor Lake.

Coach Foster, Billy Ray, Patrick and myself cannot thank you enough for your time this past weekend. We look forward to doing it again real soon!