Greg Foster played in the NBA for 13 years, and this season he came back to UTEP as an undergraduate assistant under Tim Floyd. He wanted to start coaching and even got thrown into the fire during a game against East Carolina, taking over after Floyd and assistant Phil Johnson were ejected from the game.
To have a career in coaching, Foster needed his degree, and so he became a 6-foot-11 student again. He finished up his schoolwork and participated in commencement ceremonies on Saturday.
According to the El Paso Times, going back to school after a stint in the mortgage business was no small accomplishment for Foster.
"We're obviously really happy for Greg," said Floyd, who tried to recruit Foster out of high school in Oakland, then brought him to UTEP as a junior after he left UCLA. "It's not an easy thing to do to go back and get a diploma when you've been away from school for 17 years. We know that this is going to advance his career and give him an opportunity to have a great second career in coaching. Through observing Greg's enthusiasm being around young people and his vast knowledge of the game, I have no doubt that he's going to have a successful coaching career."
Pausing, laughing again, Foster said, "It really was a great experience -- except for seeing my daughter's friends from high school in the halls and having my niece call, 'Hi, uncle Greg,' across the hallway. But it really was good and I'm excited about coaching. I think I want to try this thing out."
With a degree in multidisciplinary studies in hand, Foster now puts himself in a position to coach and spread his basketball knowledge.
And who knows? There could be an opportunity to become an assistant coach at his alma mater. The Murray Ledger & Times reported that UTEP assistant coach William Small was hired at Murray State by Billy Kennedy before Kennedy accepted another job at Texas A&M.
But it's the degree 17 years later that will open the door for Foster somewhere in the future.