Air Force names Launi Meili rifle coach
April 9, 2007
The Air Force Academy today named Launi Meili (pronounced LAW-nee MY-lee) head rifle coach. Meili comes to the Academy from Nebraska, where she coached for five years. Meili replaces Lt. Col. Bill Roy, who served an interim coach this season.
Meili led the Cornhuskers to a No. 2 national ranking this season. The team finished fifth at the NCAA championships in 2007. She has coached 21 All-Americans, an NCAA individual champion and placed seven women on the U.S. Development team. In addition, Meili led Nebraska to a pair of Great American Rifle Conference championships while earning coach of the year honors in 2006.
"Coach Meili brings a wealth of experience as not only a proven NCAA Division I head coach, but a world-class competitor as well," said Associate Athletics Director for Programs Col. Billy Walker. "We were very impressed with her understanding of the Academy and our mission to produce leaders of character and how intercollegiate athletics contributes to that mission. I'm quite certain Coach Meili will develop us into one of the elite programs in the country."
As a shooting competitor, Meili shot for the U.S. Shooting team for 10 years. In that time, Meili participated in two Olympic Games, two Pan American games and a World Championship. During her career, she produced three world records, three Olympic records, a world team championship and the Olympic Gold medal in Barcelona in 1992, becoming the only American woman to ever win gold in smallbore.
She also placed 11th in air rifle in Barcelona after finishing sixth in air rifle and seventh in three-position rifle at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. She remains the only woman to compete in both events at two Olympics. Meili is also a seven-time national champion in three-position rifle, setting three world shooting records and numerous national records in her outstanding shooting career.
After retiring from competitive shooting in 1992, Meili spent 10 years coaching junior and elite level shooters and instructing athletes at shooting clinics and camps nationwide. She served as assistant coach for the U.S. National Rifle Team from 1997 to 2000 and is a member of the USA Shooting Board of Directors. Meili also created the International Coach Certification Program, the highest level of coaching credential recognized by USA Shooting and the National Rifle Association. During the 2004-05 season, Meili was recognized for her outstanding achievement to the sport by being inducted into the International Shooting Hall of Fame.
Meili earned her master's degree in sports psychology from the University of Idaho in 2001. She also holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition and exercise physiology from Eastern Washington University. She has written the Advanced Coaches Certification Program in use by the US Shooting Team and the NRA to certify coaches at the highest level. She has also created the "mental training workshop" taught to athletes, coaches and business personnel in the US and Japan.
A native of Spokane, Wash., Meili and her husband, Kevin Geddes, have a two-year-old son, Bryce Owen.
"I am thrilled to become the new rifle coach at the Air Force Academy. With the excellence in academics, athletics and student body, there are so many positive factors readily available to move this program onto the national level in the next couple of years," Meili said. "My goals are to build a solid foundation with the returning team members and the new recruits the first year and maximize the talent and resources we have to start with. From there, recruiting additional motivated and experienced shooters will be a high priority. I have always been impressed with the cadets when we've competed with them in the past."