Falcons to face Rice on Dec. 29 in Forth Worth, Texas. Game televised by ESPN.
Kickoff this Saturday, Nov. 24, is 12:30 PST at Bulldog Stadium.
Air Force-SDSU kicks off at 12:30 pm PST on Saturday, Nov. 10 in San Diego.
Falcons and Black Knights play Saturday, Nov. 3, in West Point, NY.
Falcons take on Wolfpack at 6 p.m. Friday night at Falcon Stadium.
John Rudzinski begins his eighth season with the Falcons. In addition to his work with the secondary, Rudzinski’s tenure includes responsibilities as the recruiting coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
Leading the secondary the last three seasons, the defense finished 22nd in the country in interceptions in 2016. He was vital in the development of All-American safety Weston Steelhammer, who finished as the career leader in interceptions with 18 interceptions. Steelhammer ranks second in Mountain West history in career interceptions. In 2016, Rudzinski also mentor Brodie Hicks to all-conference honors.
The 2015 group had two first-team all-conference honorees in Steelhammer and cornerback Roland Ladipo. The secondary also boosted three of the top four tacklers in 2015. In 2014, Steelhammer earned first-team all-conference honors, his first of a school-record three selections to the conference’s first team. Safety Christian Spears was also among the team leaders in tackles with 81.
In 2013, Rudzinski guided Alex Means to all-conference honors. Means led the Falcons in tackles for loss and sacks. The Falcons qualified for a sixth straight bowl game, taking on Rice in the Armed Forces Bowl. The Falcons were 5-3 in conference play.
As recruiting coordinator from 2012-2014, Rudzinski managed the national academic and athletic evaluation of high school prospects. Those recruiting classes would produce 28 wins, two bowl championships and two Commander-in-Chief Trophy wins over a three year period (2014-2016).
Rudzinski’s first two years back on staff, the Falcons won back-to-back Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in 2010-11. In 2011, he assisted the defense to finish first in the conference in passing defense with a 166.8 average. In 2010, the Falcon defense was even better, ranking second nationally by allowing just 147.8 passing yards per game. The defensive success aided Air Force to a 9-4 record, capped by a victory over Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl.
Rudzinski began his coaching career in 2005 as a graduate assistant at the Academy, serving for two years under the leadership College Football Hall of Famer Fisher DeBerry. Learning under the tutelage of defensive coordinator Richard Bell, Rudzinski helped developed future all-conference performers Drew Fowler and John Rabold.
Transitioning to Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., Rudzinski served as maintenance operations officer from 2007-10, leading 250 airman. He was responsible for the people, products and processes for the multi-billion dollar C-17 aircraft maintenance effort. Throughout his time in Charleston, he coached at First Baptist High School as a defensive assistant.
Rudzinski is a 2001 high school graduate from Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A three-year letterman at the Air Force Academy, he led the team in tackles over this span. A two-time captain, Rudzinski was named the team’s most valuable player and was honored with Air Force’s Brian Bullard Award, which is the program’s highest honor. An honorable mention all-Mountain West selection as a senior, Rudzinski was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game.
Rudzinski graduated from the Academy in 2005 as a distinguished graduate and a member of Superintendent’s List. He was also honored as outstanding cadet in management. Rudzinski has since earned his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado.
He and his wife, Lauren, live in Colorado Springs and have four children, Elin (6), Luke (4), Malin (3) and Paul (1). He and Lauren have strong admiration for the members of our armed services and feel fortunate to mentor the next great generation of Air Force officers.