BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford didn’t have to go far to find its next head baseball coach.
Bradford native and former University of Pittsburgh at Bradford star pitcher Zach Foster has been named to take over the position vacated by Brett Butler, who stepped down after this past season to assume full-time duties as the university’s new director of athletics.
Foster was born and raised in Bradford and played for Butler and the Panthers from 2005-2008, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in sport and recreation management in 2012.
“I am so very pleased Zach Foster has been named the new head baseball coach at Pitt-Bradford,” Butler said. “Zach was a student here, student-athlete, alum, and most recently an admissions counselor and assistant baseball coach.
“Zach is an excellent baseball man, with much experience from playing at a high level, to all facets of assistance coaching,” Butler added.
Foster brings a wealth of playing experience to his new position, having played six years of professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system. He’s also been the strength and conditioning coach at Pitt-Bradford, and was the top assistant on this spring’s Panthers’ team that reached the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoffs.
In 2008, he became the first Pitt-Bradford player and first AMCC athlete to be drafted when the Pirates called his name in the 49th round.
Most recently, Foster has worked in the university’s admissions office, a position he’ll be leaving to assume full-time duties as head baseball coach.
He’ll be inheriting a team that finished 13-26 overall and 6-10 in the AMCC, but showed plenty of promise with a late-season sweep over Penn State-Altoona and a tough two-game loss, 6-1 and 4-3 in 11 innings, to Penn State-Behrend in the conference playoffs. The Panthers had a roster this past spring that included 14 freshmen and seven sophomores and just two seniors.
“Zach is going to do well,” Butler said. “He has an extensive knowledge in the increasingly important and vital area of strength and conditioning. But, most importantly, he is a high character guy that the players will be fortunate to have lead them. I am excited for Pitt-Bradford baseball under his leadership.”
Butler, meanwhile, leaves the program after 18 seasons and a 344-287-1 record with three conference championships, two NCAA Division III tournament appearances, and three ECAC tournament showings, twice as the No. 1 seed.