According to a press release, Grace Baptist Academy’s Athletic Department has announced two new hires have been made for its basketball programs. Wallace Foster has been hired as the new head coach for high school boys’ basketball and Mariah Cummings is announced as the new head girls’ basketball coach.
Foster, is a 2008 graduate of Grace. Wallace has most recently served as the head coach at Hunter Middle for the last 5 years. For the past three years he has also doubled as an assistant at Silverdale Baptist Academy.
During his time at Hunter he led his team to back-to-back final four appearances in the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Wallace will also be joining the Grace Academy family as a member of the upper school faculty. Wallace graduated from Grace in 2008 and went on to pursue a collegiate baseball career at Tennessee Wesleyan. After earning his B.S. in Clinical Science he went to Lee University where he earned his M.Ed. in Education.
“Grace’s legacy means a lot to me. I started going to school at Grace when I was two years old at the Children’s Center and I stayed all the way through graduation,” said Wallace “This is home to me. I am excited about the foundation that’s already built, and I’m looking forward to the challenges we can overcome from the tornado and all the lessons we can learn. Getting back to where my home is and the family aspect is the most exciting part for me”, he continued.
According to former Grace basketball coach Jon Matheiss, "Wallace was an outstanding three sport athlete at Grace in high school. He was a skilled basketball player and a smart player, but his best characteristic was his competitive toughness and spirit. He started on some outstanding Grace Academy teams. I’m sure Wallace will inspire that same competitive spirit and toughness in our young men as he becomes their new leader. “
Foster is married to Kelsey and they have a 6 month old son Lincoln. He said, “My goal is one percent optimization every day, building daily habits, improving leadership, life skills and basketball skills. I am excited to see where we will go in the years to com.”
According to athletic director Bob Ateca, “We look forward to having Wallace lead our young men in basketball, but more importantly, in life. We believe he has the capability to really impact the Boys’ Basketball program.”
Mrs. Cummings currently serves as the Director of Marketing, Communications, and Sports Information at Grace. For the past four years, she served as the head middle school girls’ basketball coach. She had success in leading her team to the Small School ISC Regular Season Champions the past two years while also winning the Small School ISC Tournament in 2022.
Cummings has over five years of head coaching experience both at the middle school and high school level. Outside of coaching at Grace, she served as the head coach of the AAU team, MBA Stars, for two years.
“I am beyond thankful for this opportunity and there is no place I’d rather be than at Grace Academy,” said Cummings, “Four years ago, Coach Alan Smith hired me to lead the middle school girls basketball program , knowing nothing about me, yet taking a chance on me. I am forever grateful to him for allowing me to become a part of the Grace family. I am looking forward to helping these young ladies become better basketball players, but more importantly stronger followers of Christ.”
Mrs. Cummings graduated in 2013 from Silverdale Baptist Academy where she still holds the record for most points scored, totaling at 2,466 points. She played Division One basketball at Eastern Kentucky University and earned her degree in 2017.
Cummings looks to build a highly engaged and competitive program for the Lady Golden Eagles. “I am very excited to start this journey. I was always a competitor on the floor as a player, but something about coaching and leading younger players to have that same mentality, just brings me great joy,” said Cummings.
Coach Cummings and her husband, Cordaro, both work at Grace, where he teaches and has just completed his first season as the head high school baseball coach.
“We are very excited for the future of Girls Basketball at Grace Academy. Mariah’s coaching and playing experience along with her high energy will be a great asset as she builds our program back to prominence,” said Mr. Ateca.