Kurt Kanaskie is in his fourth season at the Air Force Academy as assistant men’s basketball coach.
Kanaskie has helped the Falcons to back-to-back 14-win seasons and two conference tournament victories during his tenure.
Kanaskie came to the Academy from Virginia Tech where he was an assistant coach. A coaching veteran, Kanaskie has been at the helm of three programs and worked in power conferences for much of the past decade.
Kanaskie served as the head coach at Drake for seven seasons (1996–2003) and was one of the most successful Division II head coaches in Pennsylvania history.
Following a stellar playing career at La Salle, Kanaskie began his career as an assistant coach at South Carolina for five seasons. His first head coaching job came at Division II Lock Haven, where he was in charge of the Bald Eagles for three seasons and was twice named the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference (PSAC) Coach of the Year. He inherited a Bald Eagle program that was 18-84 over the previous four seasons and in his first year set a school record for wins with 15.
Moving within the conference, he then took over at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In eight seasons, Kanaskie was named the PSAC Coach of the Year two more times and twice named The Basketball Times National Coach of the Year. Kanaskie inherited an IUP program that had posted four straight losing seasons and, after a first year of building a solid foundation, posted seven straight winning records. In 1993, IUP made the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) semifinals for the first time in 16 years.
The next season (`94-’95), IUP grabbed its first national ranking in school history (No. 5), earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time ever and advanced to the Elite Eight. A year later (`95-’96), IUP earned a No. 1 national ranking and advanced to the national semifinals.
Moving up to Division I, Kanaskie was named the head coach at Drake, where he stayed for seven seasons until 2003. He then moved to Penn State, first as an assistant coach under Ed DeChellis and later as the associate head coach. In his years in State College, the Nittany Lions claimed three postseason berths and won the 2009 NIT Championship. Departing Penn State after the 2010-11 season, he spent one season as the associate head coach at Navy, and then moved on to become an assistant coach at Virginia Tech for two seasons.
Kanaskie earned his bachelor’s degree from La Salle in 1980 and a master’s in business administration from South Carolina in 1985. While at La Salle, he earned All-Big Five and All-East Coast Conference honors, was an academic All-American, and left as the school’s ninth all-time leading scorer. He was drafted by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors in 1980.
A native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Kanaskie has three children, a daughter, Kristin Kanaskie Grotewold, and sons, Kevin Kanaskie and Kyle Kanaskie. Kanaskie is married to Tammy Kuypers.