E.W. Foy’s basketball coaching life featured many firsts

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EW FoyLAKE CHARLES, LA – There were many firsts in the basketball coaching life of E.W. Foy.

He won championships – conference and state – on both the college and high school level in every place he coached and in some cases those titles were the very first for that particular school.

Foy was also one of the first in the South to have his teams spotlight the fast break throughout a game.

“He liked to play at a fast pace,” said former student and coaching assistant Steve Welch of Foy.  “It was all the time and not just at particular stages of the game.”

“E.W. was a John Wooden type coach.  A soft spoken teacher.  He was always teaching on the court and he expected you to execute what he was teaching.  At all three places where he coached (high school and college) he won championships.”

Foy, who led both McNeese State University and Southeastern Louisiana University to conference titles as well as Baton Rouge High School to a Louisiana state championship, will be inducted posthumously into the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame during the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches’ 44th Annual Awards Banquet on May 5 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Baton Rouge.  The banquet is sponsored by the Baton Rouge Orthopaedic Clinic.

He will join two of his former McNeese St. pupils – John Rudd and Edmond Lawrence – in the Hall of Fame.

He also becomes the second McNeese St. coach to be so honored (Ralph Ward was the first) and gives the Cowboys a total of eight members in the Hall – players Joe Dumars, Stan Kernan, Bill Reigel and Frank Glenn being the others.  Additionally, he will be the second Southeastern La. coach to be inducted (Luther Marlar was the first) and the fifth Lion overall (players C.A. Core, Dick Sharp and Don Wilson were the others).

Foy’s coaching ability took life in Baton Rouge, beginning in the East Baton Rouge Parish public school system at Baton Rouge Junior High School in 1959.

Born in New Orleans, Foy grew up in Osyka, Mississippi, graduated high school in 1955 and attended Southwest Mississippi Community College.  In May of 1957, he earned a bachelor’s degree in math and a minor in health and physical education while on a basketball scholarship at William Carey University.  Later he would receive a master’s degree from LSU and accept his first teaching and coaching position, that at Baton Rouge Junior High.

Three years later he was the head coach at Baton Rouge High and in 1967 led his team to the Class 3A (now 5A) state title game, bowing to LaGrange 62-57.

The next year with a team led by Apple Sanders who would go on to fame at LSU, Foy’s squad went undefeated (31-0) and beat Bossier City 77-52 in the state championship contest.

His six year record at Baton Rouge High was 131-42.

Two years later Foy became the head coach at Southeastern La. where he would lead his team to the Gulf South Conference title in the 1972-73 season, only the second league crown in school history.

At Southeastern La. he had taken over a program that had won only four games the year before he became head coach.  His team’s record for the last two years was 36-17, a 21-7 single season high as well as an NCAA Division II regional finals appearance included.

He was at McNeese St. for only three years but the results from those three years were among the best in school history.

Foy’s arrival at McNeese St. wasn’t totally unexpected, especially by then athletic director and head football coach Jack Doland.

Two summers while he was the head coach at Southeastern La., Foy worked on his master’s degree at LSU.  In a couple of his classes was Doland, who was completing requirements for his doctorate.

The two became friends and when the McNeese St. position opened, Doland advised Foy to apply.

His first Cowboy team, which featured Lawrence, Rudd and Henry Ray in 1974-75, won the Southland Conference title, another achievement for Foy as this was the university’s first SLC championship.

Ray was a standout on the team that went 16-8 overall and won the league title in the final outing of the year, a 101-84 victory over Arkansas St.  Lawrence finished his career as McNeese St.’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder and went on to play professionally in the NBA as well as with the Harlem Globetrotters, and Rudd went on to rank as one of the nation’s annual leaders in rebounding and also spent time in the NBA.

Foy’s final tally at McNeese St. – three  years – was one conference title, an overall 52-26 record, three first team all-conference players (Ray, Lawrence, Rudd), one conference player of the year (Ray) and an offense that averaged over 80 points a game each and every season.

The 52 victories he produced as the McNeese St. head coach would later help the Cowboys become the first team in Southland Conference history to win 300 league games.

Foy’s eight-year college coaching career had his teams winning 56.5 percent of its contests (117-90) as well as two conference titles, two 20-win seasons and making a NCAA Division II regional finals appearance.  He also collected a Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year honor.

After his three years with the Cowboys, a business opportunity came up close to his hometown of Osyka and for 23 years he owned and operated the Western Auto Associate store in McComb, Mississippi.

Late in his life he would return to coaching, taking on high school assignments as the head coach at Parklane Academy in McComb (2000), leading that team to the state playoffs for the first time in 10 years and then finishing at Amite School Center in Liberty, Mississippi (2012).

The Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame (sponsored by the LABC for which Foy was a founding member) will be Foy’s fourth such honor, as he is already a member of hall of fames at Southwest Mississippi Community College, William Carey University and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

In addition to the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame induction, the May 5 awards banquet will include recognition of Louisiana’s major college, small college, junior college and high school players and coaches of the year, the top pro player from the state, and the presentation of the LABC’s Mr. Louisiana Basketball award to former Nicholls State University player Cleveland Hill.

The Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame was created in 1975 to honor former great basketball players and coaches from Louisiana colleges.  More information about the LABC and the Hall of Fame can be obtained by visiting their website at www.labball.com.

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