Ryan Foster, a multiple-time All-American and Big Ten champion, was named assistant coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions in the fall of 2014. Foster was most recently the Penn State track & field director of operations for one year before taking over as an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions. He will assist in the Nittany Lion program in coaching the mid-distance and distance squads.
Foster, who is a 2011 graduate, enjoyed one of the most successful careers in program history, finishing his tenure in the Blue and White with three All-America finishes, including a pair of NCAA bronze-medal efforts - as well as four Big Ten titles.
The former Nittany Lion made an immediate impact on the Penn State program, winning the Big Ten indoor title at 800-meters during his sophomore campaign in 2009. Foster would go on to win three-straight indoor conference half mile crowns, while also picking up an outdoor victory in the same event in 2009.
Foster was a multiple-time qualifier on the NCAA stage, finishing third in the 800 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in 2010, and matching the finish in the mile run at the NCAA Indoor Championships the following year. Boasting an impressive range, Foster was also a member of the Nittany Lions' NCAA-qualifying team in cross country in 2010.
Over his career, Foster posted personal-best efforts of 1:46.78 in the 800, the fourth-best performance in school history, and 2:19.60 for the 1000-meters, which stands as the fourth-fastest effort in the collegiate record books. In 2011, Foster led the Nittany Lions to their first Penn Relays Championship of America since 1987, anchoring the Sprint Medley Relay squad to a finishing time of 3:17.10, which remains a Penn State record.
He remains one of just four Nittany Lion harriers to break 4:00 in the mile, running 3:58.49. Hailing from Tasmania, Australia, he was the first Tasmanian to break the 4:00-barrier indoors, and also holds Australian national records in the indoor 800-meters (1:47.48) and 1000-meters (2:19.60).
Before joining Penn State, Foster worked locally with the Kevin Dare Foundation before serving as the Chief of Staff for Partners Financial Group (PFG). Foster spent a year as volunteer assistant for the Nittany Lions during the 2011-12 campaign.
During his time with the Dare Foundation, Foster organized and participated in the world-record setting 1,000-mile relay, in an effort to promote the Foundation's scholarship fund, "Life ... Back on Track."
The fundraising effort has continued to help athletes with debilitating injuries/illness, through financial scholarships, achieve their academic goals in memory of the life of former Penn State pole vaulter Kevin Dare. The 10-man team, which was comprised of mostly Nittany Lion alumni, completed the 1000-mile trek from Minneapolis, Minn., to Nittany Lion Track in 95 hours, three minutes, and one second.