A Given Opportunity

When Bill Foti first set foot on campus 29 years ago, he was in his 20s working as an assistant men’s basketball coach for New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University). He said, “I knew I was ready to become a head coach. I just needed a chance. I am very grateful I was given this opportunity.”

Foti began his CSC career as the men’s head basketball coach in 1992. In his first season at the college, he led the Chargers to a 16-9 season, improving by 10 wins over the previous year. This was the largest turnaround in the New England region and the third largest in the nation that year. Since then, Foti has led the team to 486 victories, five conference championships and nine Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament appearances. He has also earned the conference Coach of the Year award five times and is ranked in the top 25 among active Division III college coaches.

In 2013, Foti was named Director of Athletics with longtime friend and colleague Women’s Head Basketball Coach George Martin. The two held this position until July 1, 2020. Foti said, “It was a unique arrangement, but it worked for us because we had a strong working relationship. It’s not a model I would recommend, but for this institution, at that period of time, it worked.” During their last year together, Foti and Martin were named the Co-Executives of the Year by their GNAC athletic director colleagues. He said, “This was really gratifying for me because I am proud of my work as a coach but also as a director of athletics.”

Last month, Foti announced that he will be leaving Colby-Sawyer to accept the director of athletics position at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. His new role will oversee more than 20 teams, including a large football roster. This move comes at a perfect time for Foti and his wife, Cathy. He said, “We are ready for a new adventure. My son lives in Charlotte and my youngest daughter goes to college in Washington D.C. This just makes sense for us on a personal level.”

Foti broke the news to his team during an unscheduled Zoom meeting a few weeks ago, according to team member Conor Kelly ’23. He said, “We all just thought the meeting was to introduce the freshmen and check in before summer started. But we were wrong. It was very unexpected, and you could tell that Coach had a difficult time making this decision.”

Kelly was not originally recruited for the CSC basketball team, but Foti let him try out for the team anyway. And, just as Foti got his chance 29 years ago, he did the same for Kelly. “Coach did not have to let me on the team,” Kelly said, “but he took a chance and gave me an opportunity, and I am forever thankful for that.”

There are a lot of people who are thankful for the opportunities, guidance and companionship Foti has offered his student-athletes throughout the years. Kearsarge Regional High School Men’s Head Basketball Coach Nate Camp ’98 recalled his time on the team from 1994 to 1998, saying, “Coach provided so much more than just a basketball coach would. He helped build character, toughness (both mentally and physically) and held us all accountable. All my experiences during this time helped me get to where I am today and for that I am eternally grateful to Coach Foti. All these years later, I have a true friend and mentor who deeply cares about me.”

Andrew St. Clair ’96 reflected on his friendship with Foti over the years. He said, “I had the pleasure of playing for and coaching with Coach Foti for roughly 15 years. He has been an incredible positive influence on me personally, and I have seen him be the same for hundreds of other players. While his passion for basketball and coaching was always on display, what many outside of the team never got a chance to see or experience is how much he cared about his guys being successful in life far past their days at Colby-Sawyer.”

As Foti moves on to the next chapter, he is excited to take on this new role. He said, “I’m very comfortable here at CSC. I have a lot of good relationships and friends here, but I’m choosing to do this. I am looking forward to a new job, new house and a new state. We’re looking at it as an adventure and at this point in my life, and in my career, I can do it.”

“Coach Foti has left his mark on Colby-Sawyer College and so many young men who were lucky enough to play for him. I know he will do great things in this next chapter of his life. He will be missed.”