Air Force Men's Soccer Coach Lou Sagastume Announces Retirement
April 10, 2007
Air Force men's soccer coach Lou Sagastume has announced his retirement, ending over a quarter-century at the Air Force Academy. Sagastume, the "father" of Falcon soccer, built Air Force into one of the most respected programs in the nation during his 28 seasons as head coach at the Academy.
Sagastume compiled a 282-188-43 record in his 28 seasons at Air Force and an overall record of 303-195-43 in 30 seasons. During the 2006 season, he became the 25th coach in Division I history to reach the 300-win plateau. Teams under his guidance were 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.
"It has been an honor for me to coach at the Air Force Academy," said Sagastume. "As much as I have enjoyed the 28 years at this wonderful institution, it is time for me to move on and let someone else continue the progress of the men's soccer program."
His building of the Academy program did not go unnoticed by his peers, as Sagastume was twice named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year, including sharing the award in 2006 with Jeremy Fishbein of New Mexico and Chad Ashton of Denver. He also earned Midwest Region (Division I) Coach of the Year twice and was named Coach of the Year in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Soccer League (RMISL) and the Far West Conference.
"Coach Sagastume leaves an impressive legacy for Air Force soccer," said Colonel Billy Walker, Deputy Director of Athletics. "Lou has developed great teams, great players, and great young men. More importantly, however, is that he has developed tremendous leaders of character who have gone on to do wonderful things for our Air Force and the nation. He will be very difficult to replace."
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, is a native of Guatemala and lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Linda. Sagastume is the father of five children, Marcel, Ryan, Marcus, Laura and Luke. Ryan and Marcus played soccer at Air Force for their father.