Rhode Island baseball head coach Jim Foster and former Rhody shortstop Dan Rhault ’09 were honored at the 64th Annual Words Unlimited Awards Banquet on Feb. 21 at The Radisson in Warwick.
Foster was selected as the Men’s Sports Coach of the Year after guiding the Rams to a program-record 37 victories, which included wins over No. 8 Miami, No. 11 Oklahoma State, and No. 25 Ohio State. URI also advanced to the Atlantic 10 championship game. In addition, Foster received honorable mention from CollegeBaseballInsider.com for the organization’s National Coach of the Year award and was named the 2009 New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association Division I Coach of the Year. On December 15, 2009, Kendall Rogers of Yahoo! Sports/Rivals.com featured Foster in an article about NCAA Division I baseball’s ”Rising Coaches.”
Rhault earned Story of the Year recognition for a story that began when he was four years old and was diagnosed with acute leukemia. After undergoing four years of treatment, including spinal taps and chemotherapy, he finally went into remission. As a freshman, Rhault appeared in 12 games. He recorded just three hits in 24-at-bats, giving him a .125 average. Because of his “never back down” attitude, he improved his batting average each following season, including a .316 his junior year, and a .402 his senior year. His senior year he was an All-New England selection and received the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year award after ranking among the league leaders in almost every statistical category. He led the Rams in RBIs (57), walks (27), home runs (11), grand slams (3), multiple hit games (23), multiple RBI games (14), slugging percentage (.628), and on-base percentage (.472). On the defensive end, Rhault has contributed to 28 double plays and one triple play. This year, Rhault was one of 38 NCAA Division I baseball players named to the watch list for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top shortstop. In the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, he was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 26th round, 799th overall.