March 3, 2012
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Director of Athletics Dr. Hans Mueh announced today that Dave Pilipovich has agreed to become the permanent head coach of the Air Force men's basketball team. Contract details are not finalized and still going through the Academy process.
Pilipovich has been serving as head coach since Feb. 8 when Jeff Reynolds was relieved of his duties. Pilipovich, the eighth head coach in program history, has led the Falcons to a 2-4 record entering today's game against Colorado State.
Pilipovich is in his fifth season on the Air Force coaching staff and was in his first season as associate head coach before taking over for Reynolds. Prior to joining the Falcons, Pilipovich spent two years on the basketball staff under Tommy Amaker at the University of Michigan.
With 25 years of coaching experience under his belt, he served as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University for five years (2000-05) prior to joining the Michigan staff. Before his stint at EMU, he served four years as an assistant coach at Robert Morris University (1996-2000), two years an assistant coach at Georgia State University (1994-96) and two years as the assistant head coach at Florida Atlantic University (1989-91) before being named associate head coach the following four years (1991-94). Pilipovich began his coaching career serving as a graduate assistant at California University (Pa.) for two years (1986-88), before being named as an assistant coach for one season (1988-89).
A 1986 graduate of Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., Pilipovich earned four varsity basketball letters and served as team captain during his senior season. He and his wife, Kelly, have two children, Kyle and Kelsey.
Director of Athletics Dr. Hans Mueh
"I buy and I don't shop. I had seen enough of Dave Pilipovich and his staff in the few games since we've made this change. To see the energy on the bench and to see the excitement in the player's eyes and to see his positive motivating approach makes him the right coach for right now at the Air Force Academy. He's got the total package. He understands cadets and I know I will not ever regret this decision no matter what happens."
"He's a very, very good basketball coach and brings some great experience with him, including the five years here at Air Force. For the future of this team and for this game and for the tournament and so that there wouldn't be distractions going into the tournament and the off-season they can get on the road and tell their recruits they are going to be here a while."
"We had one other coach here that we elevated to the head coach position and it worked out pretty well with Fisher DeBerry and we didn't do a search in that hire. I just felt very confident, not just in Dave, but the coaching staff that's with him and the way the team responds to him, I was not interested in starting with an outside search."
"It takes some special credentials to coach at the Air Force Academy. It takes an understanding of cadets. It's so much more than basketball. The whole package when it came to the priorities of why where here....producing future officers....I think Dave has the report with this group. I was looking for continuity and stability and I think Dave has proven himself."
Dave Pilipovich, Air Force men's basketball head coach
"It's been a lot of emotions. It's been some great moment and some curious ones. The opportunity to lead this program....what more can you ask for? What a great place to be and what great young men to work with. You have to pinch yourself to know it really happening. I'm just appreciative of the opportunity. We're very excited moving forward."
"The administration is good at what they do and they we doing what they needed to do and we were doing what we needed to do and that's prepare the team. We were not consumed with the decision. We talked about everything will take place and work out for the best and now we're just excited for the opportunity."
"You know it's been 26 years and we've been chasing it. Chasing it, chasing it, chasing it and some days you think you're going to find it and some days you think you may never find it and that's okay that's the way it is. It finally caught up to us and it couldn't be in a better place."