Air Force men's soccer coach Lou Sagastume has produced an impressive list of accomplishments in his 27 seasons with the Falcons. The "father" of Falcon soccer will attempt to add to that list this season with the expertise and resilience he has used to build Air Force into one of the most respected programs in the nation.
Entering his 28th season as head coach at the Academy, Sagastume hopes to rekindle the success of the 2001 Falcons, who finished the season 11-5-1, placed second in the final Mountain Pacific Sports Federation standings and achieved a national ranking as high as No. 19. The Falcons have had just one winning season since, including an 8-9-2 mark last season when the Falcons finished third in the MPSF.
Sagastume is ranked 12th nationally on the NCAA list of winningest active Division I coaches. Among coaches who have coached the same amount of years or less, Sagastume ranks ninth for most victories. He has compiled a 277-176-42 record in his 27 seasons at Air Force and an overall record of 298-176-42 in 29 seasons.
He needs two victories to become the 25th coach in Division I history to reach the 300-win plateau. Teams under his guidance are responsible for 14 of the 16 double-digit win seasons in Academy history, nine of 23 conference championships and four of the programs' 10 NCAA Tournament appearances.
Individually, Sagastume has seen three of his Falcons earn first-team All-American status, 26 receive all-region honors and 63 earn all-conference recognition.
His building of the Academy program has not gone unnoticed by his peers, as Sagastume has twice been named the Midwest Region (Division I) Coach of the Year. He has also earned Coach of the Year recognition from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Soccer League (RMISL) and the Far West Conference.
In 1993, Sagastume was named the MPSF Coach of the Year as he guided the Falcons to their best season ever. Air Force posted a 15-5-1 record, won the MPSF's Mountain Division and advanced to the Final Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Included in that tournament run was a 2-1, four-overtime win at No. 1 Creighton. The game, played in sub-zero weather and a driving snow storm, remains one of the biggest upsets in Division I soccer history.
Sagastume last won the Midwest Region award during the special 1996 season, when the Falcons posted a 14-3-3 record, a national ranking as high as No. 3 and an appearance in the inaugural WAC Championship game. Three of his players earned all-conference honors, with one, team captain John Stratton, earning first-team All-American honors.
He continued to lead the Falcons to new heights in 1997 as Air Force entered the preseason nationally ranked, a first in the history of the program. The team proved it belonged among the nation's elite as the Falcons went 13-5 and advanced to their first NCAA Tournament in four years. In October of 1997, Sagastume earned his 200th win as Air Force head coach with a 4-1 victory over Oral Roberts at Cadet Soccer Stadium.
Before joining the Academy staff in 1979, Sagastume was the head coach at San Francisco State. During his short stint with the Gators, Sagastume posted a 21-8-0 record. He was named the Far West Conference Coach of the Year in 1978 after leading SFSU to its second straight berth in the NCAA Division II Regionals. The Gators also won the Far West Conference in 1978.
Sagastume broke into the collegiate ranks as the head junior varsity coach at his alma mater, the University of San Francisco. In 1967 and 1968, he led the Dons to an impressive 30-2 record.
At the same time, he was rebuilding the soccer program at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco. His St. Ignatius teams went 65-6 in his tenure (1967-74 and 1977-78), won three West Catholic League Championships and had four second-place finishes.
Sagastume returned to the collegiate ranks full time in 1974 as an assistant coach for Cal-State Chico. He remained with the Wildcats until 1976 after Chico posted a 29-3 record over two years.
Sagastume received a bachelor's degree from USF in 1968. He then earned a master's in physical education from Cal-State Chico in 1975.
As a player at San Francisco, Sagastume was the Dons' team captain during his junior and senior seasons. A member of three Far West Conference championship teams, Sagastume played on the Dons' 1966 team that won the NCAA title.
Individually, Sagastume earned All-American and all-conference honors as a midfielder and is a member of USF's Athletic Hall of Fame.
After his stellar collegiate career, Sagastume earned the honor of being a number one draft choice of the Oakland Clippers professional soccer club in 1968. He remained a Clipper for two seasons and then rejoined professional soccer in 1975 as a player/coach of the San Antonio Thunder of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
Sagastume, who holds a United States Soccer Federation "A" license and became the first American to obtain an English "FA" coaching license, also directs the Academy's summer soccer camp and numerous day camps. He serves as the athletic association representative for the Pikes Peak Youth Invitational Soccer Tournament. The tournament, hosted by the Academy, is one of the nation's largest, consisting of more than 240 teams (boys and girls) ranging from 12 to 19 years old. He is also an assistant professor in physical education at AFA.
A native of Guatemala, Sagastume lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Linda. He has five children, Marcel, Ryan, Marcus, Laura and Luke. Ryan and Marcus played soccer at Air Force for their father.