Rich Gugat to be Inducted Into Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame
Air Force men's tennis coach Rich Gugat will be inducted into the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Friday night, Feb. 11 at the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Gala in Denver, Colo. Gugat, who is in his 31st season at Air Force, joins Ade Butler, Carolyn Byrne, Fay Shwayder and Joseph Thompson as the fifth class of inductees into the Hall of Fame.
Gugat has secured his place in Academy history as one of the greatest coaches ever -- in any sport. The winningest coach in Air Force Academy history, Gugat sports a career record of 678-198, the second-most wins among active Division I coaches. His 30 years at Air Force is the longest tenure of any coach in any sport in Academy history, and currently the second-longest of any head coach in the Mountain West Conference.
The glory days of Air Force tennis began with Gugat's arrival in 1974. He posted a 34-13 record in his first two seasons before taking a year off to complete a military assignment in Greenland. When he returned to the Academy in 1977, Gugat reeled off 23 straight seasons of at least 20 victories, and his poorest winning percentage for any season during that stretch was .697 (23-10) in 1980. His teams won a school-record 28 matches in 1983 and '88, and he guided the 1993 squad to a 25-2 record, a winning percentage of .926.
The Falcons were hard to beat during the '90s, but it was almost impossible to defeat AFA at the Academy. Gugat's teams produced an amazing 168-11 record at home during the decade, including a school-record 50-match home winning streak between 1995 and 1997.
Gugat, the 1987 Western Athletic Conference coach of the year, has been the director of one of the country's most successful youth summer tennis camps--The Academy's Falcon Tennis Camp--for the last 24 years.
His coaching career began in the service when he was player-coach of the 1967-68 and 1968-69 Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif., basketball teams. Gugat led the group to the Aerospace Defense Command championships both seasons. He also coached the United States Air Force Academy Prep School basketball team in 1971-72 and 1979-83, compiling a 119-51 record at the junior college level. He retired from the Air Force after 21 years of service in 1987.
Gugat and his wife, Carol, consider Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy home. They were married in the Cadet Chapel in 1974 and their three daughters, Cara (28), Brooke (25) and Paige (22) were all born at the Academy hospital.
The coach will shoot for two more victories on Saturday, Feb. 12 as his Falcons play Montana State at 10 a.m. and Northern Colorado at 2 p.m. at the Academy.