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BREAKING: Northwestern baseball coach Jim Foster “relieved of his duties” after team meets with AD Derrick Gragg, President Michael Schill

Foster departs after one season in Evanston.

Editor’s note: On July 26, Northwestern president Michael Schill told The Daily Northwestern that Northwestern head coach Jim Foster has been placed on “indefinite suspension.” Schill noted that Foster wasn’t fired, but “won’t be coaching again.” This story has been revised to reflect that information.

During a meeting with players from the 2023 Northwestern baseball team on Thursday afternoon, athletic director Derrick Gragg and NU president Michael Schill shared with the team that head coach Jim Foster has been “relieved of his duties” after he spent one season with the team, per a current Northwestern baseball player who remained anonymous in fear of retribution.

The decision comes in the wake of allegations corroborated by nine members of the Northwestern program that Foster “broke the spirit of the team” by creating a team environment riddled with his “abusive behavior,” as read on 670 The Score on Monday. Members of the program shared multiple instances of that behavior with Inside NU’s Gavin Dorsey.

In place of Foster, assistant coach Brian Anderson “will be leading the baseball program,” per Gragg.

The current Northwestern player revealed that he and other members of the 2023 squad — including some graduating seniors — reached out to Northwestern President Michael Schill by email at about 12 a.m. CT on Wednesday night to request a meeting with him to find out what actions Northwestern was planning to take in the wake of the allegations.

The university had not publicly acknowledged any of the reports that had come out in the prior three days, and with the NCAA transfer portal set to close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday night, multiple players who had remaining eligibility needed to decide if they would remain with Northwestern for the 2024 season.

“I think the goal is just to get a meeting and try to get some answers,” the current player said before requesting the meeting. “However, I can say that most likely the answers we get will affect a lot of returners’ decisions on whether they enter the portal. I can’t speak for each of them, but from the guys that I know and I’ve talked to, what we hear will impact the decision pretty heavily.”

At about 4:15 p.m. CT, the players on the email received a message from Claire Weber, an executive assistant for Northwestern Athletics, with a statement from Gragg inviting the team to meet exactly an hour later regarding a “major update about Northwestern baseball.” Inside NU received a screenshot of the email from the current player.

“I know many of you are scattered across the country playing summer ball and may even be on the field as this message hits your phone,” Gragg wrote. “So please know this will not be the last conversation we have on the topic. But we did want to absolutely get to you first.”

Gragg did get to the team first, albeit after three days of baseball players waiting for updates from the administration on Foster in the wake of the allegations.

“Most of us felt like we were just kind of waiting to get that one Zoom link from from Dr. Gragg, and he was gonna let us know about some sort of staff change, but we never got that,” the player said before the meeting. “And every day that kind of went on, it was like, ‘Okay, what’s going on?’ And then all the stuff in the media came out. We’re like, ‘Okay, for sure. We’re getting it tomorrow for sure. We’re getting it tomorrow.’”

“And we’ve gotten nothing. But that’s kind of what sparked us reaching out because we want to know something, right? We just need to know there’s a direction and a plan moving forward because there’s no attention at all on our program.”

With Foster’s departure, 13 returning players now have more knowledge regarding the state of the program to make a decision in the five hours before the transfer portal closes.

Gragg also sent an email to the players’ parents, which was obtained by Inside NU.

“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.”

On the field, Foster led Northwestern to an abysmal 10-40 record, the ‘Cats’ worst record since 1970. NU finished in the bottom 10% in the nation in ERA, posting a team average of 8.53, and also in total runs, scoring 258 runs in its 2023 campaign.