Emilie Burrer Foster ’69, longtime Trinity women’s tennis player and coach, will be inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023. Conducted by San Antonio Sports, which “transforms our community through the power of sport,” the gala event will be held Saturday, May 13, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
“It is an honor and will be a very special night,” Foster says. “I went to college, high school, middle school, and elementary school here in San Antonio. The people of this great city helped me when I was just beginning to play tennis and throughout my career. This award is as much a tribute to them as it is an honor to me.”
Indeed, Foster attended San Antonio’s Jefferson High School and captured the 1965 large school state singles championship. As a student at Whittier Middle School, she competed in softball, volleyball, and basketball until taking up tennis during her sophomore year at Jefferson.
She went to Lubbock Christian College and advanced to the doubles semifinal at the USLTA National Collegiate Championship held at Stanford University. Then, in 1967, Foster transferred to Trinity University.
“San Antonio was my home,” Foster explains. “When I was in high school, I watched (the late) Chuck McKinley and Frank Froehling (both from the Class of ’64) work out at the old San Pedro Tennis Center (now McFarlin Tennis Center). I learned a lot and felt there was an allegiance to Trinity. I also wanted a quality education, and tennis was a bonus.”
With an academic scholarship—before Title IX—Foster earned a Bachelor of Science in physical education with a minor in biology in 1969. Along the way, Foster captured two United States Lawn Tennis Association Collegiate Singles Championships and two doubles championships (with Becky Vest '69). The duo also brought home the USLTA Team Championship. While at Trinity, Foster was selected to the 1967 USA Pan American Games team.
After graduation, Foster reached the 1969 U.S. Open doubles quarterfinals and the singles third round. She was also a member of the Houston EZ Riders of World Team Tennis in 1974.
While working on her master’s degree at Arizona State University, Foster received a call from Texas Tech University, offering her an instructor’s position with the possibility of developing a women’s tennis program. She accepted and led the Red Raiders from 1970–78.
Foster was offered the head coaching position at Trinity in 1978. Her husband, Rudy, was transferred from his trucking company in Lubbock, and the couple moved to San Antonio.
Through the 1990 season, Foster’s Tiger teams amassed a record of 259-94, reaching the national collegiate finals on two occasions (AIAW and NCAA). Her teams finished third in the nation three times and were top five finishers on three occasions. She coached the 1983 NCAA national doubles champion team of Louise Allen ’84 and Gretchen Rush ’86 and mentored 12 All-Americans during her tenure. Foster was named National Collegiate Coach of the Year in 1983 as well.
Foster was inducted into the Lubbock Christian University Hall of Honor in 1994, the National Women’s Collegiate Hall of Fame and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, the Trinity University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001, and the San Antonio Independent School District Hall of Fame in 2022.
Foster began a second career as a biomechanist, relating principles of movement to the human body in all sports, not just tennis. She has traveled worldwide, working with athletes to improve their performances while reducing the risks of injury. She has worked with a wide variety of athletes, including PGA golfers Padraig Harrington and Brian Gay, the San Antonio Spurs, the New York Mets, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Argentina Davis Cup Team, and Ireland’s World Cup Rugby Team.
While continuing to teach and coach tennis, Foster is currently working on an untitled book that presents information to instructors about biomechanics as they relate to tennis skills.