Foley, who played 201 times for Munster, hung up his boots at the end of the 2007/8 season and joined the Munster backroom staff in July 2008 as technical advisor and assistant coach for defence.
During this time he was also head coach to the Munster Under-20s and to the Munster 'A' squad that reached the inaugural British & Irish Cup final in May 2010.
He moved on to his current position, Munster forwards coach, at the start of the 2011/12 season.
Foley was also involved with the Ireland squad during their summer tour last year and more recently took charge of the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds.
Commenting on the appointment, Munster Rugby Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald said: "Anthony was the stand-out candidate to succeed Rob Penney at the end of the season and I believe he will do an excellent job in leading this squad forward.
"His experience and knowledge is of huge benefit to this young Munster side and I'm sure it will be an easy transition for both the players and backroom team to carry on the positive progress already made.
"In the next few months Anthony will continue to play his part in the coaching team, supporting Rob, as Munster challenge for silverware in both competitions."
On confirmation of the promotion, Anthony Foley added: "I am very happy to be selected as the next Munster head coach. It is a huge honour and privilege for me.
"I am very fortunate to have played and achieved success with the province at the top level, my home province, and now I look forward to leading the next generation of Munster players to future success in the red jersey.
"But before that we have a job to do this season and I will continue to play my part, working closely with Rob, Simon (Mannix) and Ian (Costello), as we push for titles."
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