Mannie Foster is considered to be one of the finest athletes ever to play football at the University of New Mexico. He was a three-year starter in football at Albuquerque High School (AHS) and also earned letters in basketball and track under the guidance of Coach F. M. Wilson. He was honored at the AHS "1879-1979 Centennial" for distinguished athletic achievement and was one of the first inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
At the University of New Mexico from 1927-30, Mannie was a guard-tackle and place-kicker and earned All-Far-Southwest honors for four consecutive years. He played on the only undefeated UNM football team (8-0-1) in 1927 and was chosen to play in the annual East-West Shrine game in 1930.
Foster was one of the first UNM football stars to be formally placed in the gridiron hall of fame. The University of New Mexico Alumni Association named him to the All-Time Football Team in 1946 as a First Team All-Time tackle. Voting was limited to the post-World War II era because it was felt that too few potential voters would have seen UNM teams from before the war. The All-Time squad was compiled by Bill Hall, then editor of UNM's Alumni Magazine, based on voting conducted through the magazine.
Foster played other games at UNM. "It was not all football," recounts his daughter, Sharon Foster. "Daddy was a member of Kappa Sigma. He told us stories about his days at UNM when his fraternity walked the streets of downtown Albuquerque in their pajamas, and the time they went out to the west side of town and lit tires on fire to simulate `real' volcanoes. He had good times at UNM. He helped plant trees in what is now Tight Grove and was on the first airplane trip the Lobo football team ever took."
After graduating from UNM, Mannie taught history at Lincoln Junior High School. He also coached football and track and field and mentored Carlsbad's late, great Ralph Bowyer. He later moved to teaching history and pursued his love of football as assistant football coach under Coach Wilson at Albuquerque High.
Prior to World War II, Foster worked for the State Employment Commission. In the European Theatre of Operations he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. "He was on the ground with the second biggest guns, he was pretty adept," said daughter Sharon. He was awarded five Battle Stars and received the Purple Heart after being wounded in combat.
Foster was inducted into the Albuquerque Sports Hall of Fame in 1979. This is Foster's third induction into an Athletic Hall of Fame, his alma mater, UNM.
Mannie and Mary Foster had five daughters: Sharon, Pamela, twins Leslie and Lynn, and Debbie. In 1974 Mannie retired as a personnel officer and employment developer from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After a three and a half year battle with bone cancer, Foster passed away. Sharon added, "Poor daddy, he had all girls and he was a football player...he was very fond of football...he would have loved the modern day sports channel. He never rooted for any one team, he just liked to watch a good game."