U.S. Olympic Committee’s feature on Villanova’s Randy Foye

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ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: USA Basketball’s Randy Foyeby Kelli McFarland

From the inner city to the inner brackets of the 2005 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, Randy Foye (Newark, N.J.) beat the odds of the typical urban kid.

Foye grew up in an area where attitude and toughness were essential for survival. Even more challenging was finding his path in life without parents.

“I never took anything for granted. I would never come out and say that I didn’t have a mother and father,” said Foye. “I just let other people know that you can’t take anything for granted. Whoever is close to you-you have to love them in every moment. Anything can happen.”

Foye’s father died in a motorcycle accident when he was two, not long before his mother disappeared from his life at age six. Foye was raised by his grandmother in Newark, N.J.

“Growing up in Newark was tough. It was all about the strongest surviving,” Foye said. “That’s what you had to prove around there. I would say I was one of the strong ones because I grew up in a tough environment and I survived by using basketball as a way to get out.”

Nationally recognized for his exceptional strength and ball handling skills, Foye inevitably grew to be a role model for the kids in his old neighborhood.

“I really don’t talk to them about basketball,” said Foye. “I talk to them about doing good academically. I encourage them to make it through school first. They’re talented at basketball, but most of them don’t go to school. You have to go to school to get into college; it’s not all about basketball.”

Foye’s potential was obvious long before he signed with Villanova University in 2001. East Side High School basketball coach Bryan Garvin and teacher Maria Contardo took notice and became the mother and father Foye never knew.

“Coach Garvin was a big brother and father figure. Off the court he was a brother, and on the court he was more like a father,” Foye said. “He was demanding and wanted [the team] to get the job done. Mrs. Contardo was more like a funny aunt, one who would hang out with the guys. But just like a mother would, she would get onto me about certain things.”

It was a late Friday night in the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University. Foye and his teammates battled for a win in the regional final game of the 2005 Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. Taking on the number one seed North Carolina, Villanova had 11.6 seconds left on the clock to put away the Tar Heels. With Curtis Sumpter out with a torn ACL, Villanova head coach Jay Wright was forced to put four guards on the floor. The Wildcats pushed the Tar Heels to the limit, losing by merely one point, 67-66, to the future national champions-yet left for home with some feeling of accomplishment.

“It was a good game. I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Foye said. “We looked at it as a team that we could beat. We were all city kids with something to prove-not to North Carolina, but to ourselves.”

The 6’3″ starting guard for Villanova stepped into the leadership role with ease. During the 2004-05 season, Foye was selected to the NCAA Syracuse Region and Big East All-tournament teams, averaged 20 points per game in three NCAA tournament games, shot a career-high 28 points in the nail-biter 67-66 loss to 2005 national champions North Carolina, was named third team All-Big East, led the Big East Conference in steals with a 2.26 average per game, was second in scoring with 15.5 average points per game and was the only Wildcat to start all 32 games.


No wonder questions filled the air about a possible early exit from college to compete in the NBA. Foye chose to finish his collegiate career with Villanova.

“It was about life after the NBA,” said Foye. “My grandmother always told me that basketball was only 12 years for the great ones. There is still life after that and you need a college diploma.”

Foye will now catch a chance to represent the USA at the 2005 World University Games Aug. 11-21 in Izmir, Turkey after competing against the nation’s best athletes in the World University Games Trials July 28-31 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“It’s great for all the players; it’s a chance to get away from the college atmosphere,” said Foye. “It’s a chance to challenge yourself-that’s what life is all about. You’ve got to go out there and show what you can do.”

Following in the footsteps of basketball icons such as Larry Byrd and Tim Duncan, Foye has an opportunity to leave his mark on international soil as one of USA’s best collegiate basketball players.

The pressure is inevitable. Foye and his teammates, under Villanova head coach and 2005 Men’s World University Games Team head coach Jay Wright, will try to improve upon the 46 consecutive wins set by the dominating force of USA at the 2001 World University Games.

“It’s a whole new challenge when we get over there,” Foye said. “I’m up for the challenge.”

For more information, contact Kelli McFarland at [email protected] or (719)866-2221.