2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Air Force Baseball

    Fri, May 15, 2009 by admin with 1 comment

    I dropped by Falcon Field yesterday to do a story about Air Force baseball.

    I got there in time for the first pitch, but I received a work-related call on my cell phone just before I got out of the car. I spent approximately 15 minutes on the call and a subsequent call, then walked to the press box. By the time I got there, the Falcons were down 6-0. And it was still the top of the first inning.

    It was 11-0 by the end of the inning, and Air Force ended up losing by a football score – 25-7.

    Anyhow, my story will appear in tomorrow’s edition of The Gazette, but it likely will be up on the web this evening. I’ll link it when it goes up.

  • Where to Get it

    Wed, May 13, 2009 by admin with no comments

    You can pick up the poster shown in the post below at the Air Force Academy Athletic Ticket Office located in the Falcon Athletic Center. It’s free.

    The posters can’t be mailed because of NCAA rules about what can be mailed to recruitable athletes. The academy doesn’t want to risk accidentally doing that.

  • Here’s the Poster

    Wed, May 13, 2009 by admin with 1 comment

    2009footballposter20final20version1

  • Football’s Academic Performance and Fisher

    Tue, May 12, 2009 by admin with no comments

    Air Force ranked No. 2 in the country among Division I-A football teams in the NCAA’s recently released Academic Progress Report. For more about this, check out my story here.

    Also, former football coach Fisher DeBerry will be back in Colorado this week for a pair of charitable events. He’ll be part of the Colorado Coaches for Charity Dinner at Invesco Field that also will feature current Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild and Northern Colorado coach Scott Downing. In addition, the Fisher DeBerry Foundation 5K Run and Walk will be held Saturday at Washburn Field.

    For information on both events, check out www.fisherdeberryfoundation.org. I wrote about Fisher’s return here.

  • New Poster

    Mon, May 11, 2009 by admin with 3 comments

    Saw the poster that promotes the 2009 Air Force football team. It’s a shot of six defensive linemen doing push-ups with the slogan: “I am discipline, I am intensity, I am 350 push-ups at 5 a.m. I am TEAM.”

    Junior-to-be defensive end Rick Ricketts is in the foreground. Also visible are Bradley Connor, Wylie Wikstrom and Kevin Whitt.

  • Falcons Gearing up for Top Prospect

    Thu, May 7, 2009 by admin with no comments

    Air Force’s baseball team will open a three-game set with San Diego State on Friday at the Aztecs’ Tony Gwynn Stadium. In the opener, the Falcons will face pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who is considered the no-brainer No. 1 draft pick in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft.

    I wrote about the Falcons facing Strasburg in today’s edition of The Gazette. You can find it here.

  • Packers Sign Dekker

    Mon, May 4, 2009 by admin with 4 comments

    Air Force senior tight end Travis Dekker was signed on Friday by the Green Bay Packers as a free agent.

    In three seasons, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Dekker caught 42 passes for 551 yards and five touchdowns. He also was a standout blocker for the Falcons’ rushing attack.

    Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said he thought Dekker could be effective in the pros in the right system.

    “He’s a very good blocker at the point of attack,” Calhoun said. “Whether it’s on man-on-man zone reaches, if it’s on down blocks, if it’s on double-teams. He’s an excellent front-side blocker, and he may be better on the back side.”

    Calhoun also said Dekker has “tremendous hands” and “a great catch radius.” By that he means that Dekker can catch balls behind him, in front of him, over his head and down at his knees. “That gives a quarterback some margin for error,” Calhoun said.

    If he makes the team, Dekker will not be able to play immediately because of his service commitment. Also clouding his football future are his plans to go to medical school.

  • Air Force and the Economy

    Mon, May 4, 2009 by admin with 1 comment

    My story about how the Air Force Academy athletic department is dealing with the economic downturn appeared in today’s edition of The Gazette. You can find the story here, and here is a sidebar that went along with the story.

    … One thing I couldn’t get to in the article is the affect of the recent contract extension and major raise given to football coach Troy Calhoun.

    Athletic director Hans Mueh said he didn’t regret that move one bit.

    “Troy’s contract, to me, saved me money,” Mueh said.

    Senior associate athletic director for external affairs Jim Trego had a similar take.

    “It’s an investment,” Trego said. “We need to do that. We need to keep good coaches here, (and) when you get good coaches, other people will be coming after them. It’s a conscious decision on our part that we need to do what we can do. On the reverse side of that, you’ve been to two straight bowl games with this guy, it’s the type of thing that as long as you keep winning, you hope that more people will keep coming and you hope that more people will buy souvenirs and you hope that more businesses want to get involved with the program. That’s the bet that you’re taking right there.”

    … One other thing I couldn’t get to in the story was the much discussed indoor facility – perhaps tops on Calhoun’s wish list.

    Mueh said he thought the economic climate probably was slowing donations to the USAFA Endowment, which was created last July and is spearheading fundraising for the building.

    “In my perfect world, we would have broken ground on (the indoor facility) this summer,” Mueh said. “I still believe we can break ground on it next summer.”

    Mueh said if the department’s long-awaited conversion to a non-profit corporation happens (a bill has been written and will be introduced to the House of Representatives – hopefully this month, Mueh said), he would have the option of proposing to a contractor to begin building before all the money is raised. “Say, ‘Here’s 50 percent down, we’ll pay the rest in installments, and let’s build this thing,’” Mueh said.

  • Armstrong Picked in CFL Draft

    Sun, May 3, 2009 by admin with 1 comment

    Air Force senior receiver Spencer Armstrong was selected by the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday in the fourth round of the Canadian Football League’s draft.

    Armstrong compiled meager statistics during a college career limited by injuries and the Falcons’ penchant for running the football, and he still has a military commitment that will preclude him from playing in the CFL immediately.

    But the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder’s upside and dual citizenship made him an intriguing prospect.

    To be eligible for the CFL Draft, players must have been born in Canada and lived there for seven years before they turn 15. Armstrong was born in Toronto and lived in Canada for seven years and three months, giving him “non-import” status.

    Duane Forde, who covers the CFL for TSN (Canada’s rough equivalent of ESPN), wrote before the draft that Armstrong was “likely the most athletic and explosive receiver in this draft but he flew under the radar for a long time because he didn’t receive his non-import status until February.”

    Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel watched Armstrong during Air Force’s pro day in March and used the 28th overall pick in the draft to select him.

    “I knew that they liked me a lot, and they contacted my agent and said they were really impressed with things I did,” Armstrong said. “Just to get drafted at all is a surprise because I didn’t have a great senior year or anything.”

    Armstrong caught 23 passes for 320 yards and three touchdowns in his Air Force career. He missed the first five games of his junior season because of a hamstring injury and the final nine regular season games of his senior season with a broken leg.

    But when he did get on the field he flashed his potential with some big plays. As a junior he hauled in a 48-yard touchdown pass against Army and scored on an eight-yard end around at Notre Dame. And in his senior year he caught two passes for 60 yards in the Armed Forces Bowl.

    “He flashed a little bit,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “He’s probably going to time well in terms of a 40(-yard dash). And he can put together some clips where he did some good things.”

    Air Force graduates are required to serve on active duty for five years following graduation. But in certain cases – when they can participate in careers, like pro sports, that have “potential recruiting or public affairs benefit to the department of the Air Force” – they can be released from active duty after two years and serve on reserve duty.

    It is uncertain if the Air Force would see playing in Canada as helpful to recruiting and public affairs. Armstrong said he hasn’t yet spoken with anyone in the Air Force about his situation.

    After graduation later this month and leave, Armstrong will report to Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, where he’ll be a contracting officer. He’ll also be doing his best to stay sharp and in shape.

    “I talked to (the Stampeders’) receivers coach and strength and conditioning coach, and they’re going to get me on a program,” Armstrong said. “They also run spring minicamps, so I’m going to attend those and get involved in football drills. … I’m also going to try to find somebody to throw me balls here and there. Just try to stay disciplined and motivated to play.”

  • Odds and Ends

    Sat, May 2, 2009 by admin with 2 comments

    Just some quick notes on what’s setting up to be one of the greatest sports Saturdays in recent memory – The Kentucky Derby, Bulls-Celtics Game 7 and Pacquiao-Hatton.

    (Just for the record, so I can get teased later, I’m taking Chocolate Candy in the Derby and Pacquiao in 10. Bulls-Celtics I have no idea. I think the Bulls – because of the injuries the Celtics have suffered – are the better team right now. But I guess at gunpoint I’d take the Celts because of their home crowd.)

    Anyhow, here’s a link to my story about last night’s Air Force Academy Athletic Department Hall of Fame dinner, which was really well done.

    Also, if you get The Mtn., check out Around The Mountain on Tuesday (it first airs at 7 p.m. and then again at 10 p.m.). I’ll be on the show talking spring football with some other guests.

    Finally, check the comments section of my Calhoun’s Little Sis post (about four posts below). It comes from Calhoun’s father. Really cool.