2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Air Force fencer Dalton Boatright wins MW sportsmanship award

    Wed, May 30, 2012 by admin with no comments

    The Mountain West Hal Rothman Sportsmanship Award has been in existence six years, and three times it has been given to an Air Force fencer.

    This year, the winner was Dalton Boatright. Against Penn State, which was ranked No. 2 in the nation, Boatright’s opponent forced Boatright’s blade close to the floor with the score 4-4, an indicator light went off signifying a point, and the match should have been over. The referee thought the Penn State fencer’s blade had missed Boatright so he ordered the match to continue. But before the action continued, Boatright told the referee the blade did touch him, and the referee gave the Penn State fencer the winning point.

    “This is another outstanding accomplishment for our program here at the Academy,” Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh said in Air Force’s announcement. “Dalton is a great example of the kind of leadership and character we have in our programs. Abdel Salem coaches his team with class and honor and is helping develop more than just great fencing skills at the Academy.”

    Former Air Force fencers Daniel Trapani and Peter French were previous recipients of the award.

  • Ben Garland to be sworn in to Colorado Air National Guard at Broncos complex

    Tue, May 29, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    The Broncos will hold a ceremony in front of their Dove Valley complex on Wednesday as defensive lineman Ben Garland – an Air Force graduate – will be sworn into the 140th Air Wing of the Colorado National Guard.

    Garland, who played nose guard for Air Force and graduated in 2010, has been working out with the Broncos. He is part of the Air Force’s “Palace Chase” program, which allows him to serve two years, and then defer his final three years of military commitment to reserve duty as he tries to make the Broncos’ roster. Garland will be a public affairs officer in the Colorado National Guard. The ceremony will be at 2 p.m.

    “During the ceremony, Garland will swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and, in what is unique to the National Guard, also will swear to support and defend the Constitution of the State of Colorado,” according to the team’s announcement.

  • Did The Gazette portray Asher Clark as a ‘martyr’?

    Tue, May 29, 2012 by David Ramsey with no comments

    For details:


  • Former Air Force star Jacob Burtschi bemoans rise of ‘fake tough’ in NBA

    Sat, May 26, 2012 by David Ramsey with 1 comment

    Enjoyed a visit last week with Jacob Burtschi, who played this season for Frankfurt Skyliners in Germany. Jacob and I share a concern with the recent gratuitous violence that has invaded the NBA.

    For details:


  • MW commissioner Thompson not sure what college football’s playoff future will be

    Thu, May 24, 2012 by admin with 2 comments

    There had been so much progress towards a four-team playoff in college football, and then the Big 12 and SEC made an agreement to have their champions meet in a bowl game, beginning with the 2014 season.

    And that re-opened the idea of a “plus one” college playoff system.

    “The SEC-Big 12 agreement has changed perceptions,” Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said.

    Now Thompson doesn’t know what will happen. First was the idea of a four-team playoff, which was a bit frustrating for Thompson, who has long pushed for playoffs in college football. Thompson said the Mountain West champion would have been among the four teams in that playoff three of the past five years, and the opportunity for those teams to play for a national title has obviously passed. But still, a four-team playoff was better than the old way of doing things.

    “It’s better than it was,” Thompson said of a four-team playoff. “It’s an improvement.”

    The “plus one” model wouldn’t be beneficial to the Mountain West. Then again, a four-team playoff likely would exclude the MW champions most years anyway. An eight-team playoff would have given more teams and leagues an opportunity to play for a championship, but Thompson sees no chance of that happening anytime soon.

    “I still think an eight-team playoff is doable and feasible and more fair,” Thompson said. “It’s just not going to happen while I’m in this chair.”

    Thompson figured that any television rights contract for a playoff would be 8-10 years – or a minimum of at least six years. Thompson said if Congress was bothered before by the Bowl Championship Series, the move from a four-team playoff back to a “plus one” could reignite some concern.

    “It’s going to get interesting,” Thompson said.

  • Asher Clark removed from Air Force Academy less than a week before graduation

    Fri, May 18, 2012 by admin with 14 comments

    Posted on Gazette.com, thought I’d share the link here for those who visit the blog more regularly than our paper’s site.

    Attempts to reach Clark haven’t been successful. A phone message left at his parents’ house wasn’t returned. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun hasn’t returned messages regarding Clark.

  • Scott Thomas’ wingman: “He’s a natural leader”

    Tue, May 15, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    Scott Thomas and Eric Dodson – “Spike” and “Neck” if we’re going by their Air Force nicknames – were friends from the academy, when Thomas was a standout football player and Dodson played lacrosse and wrestled. And on Feb. 17, 1991, they were finally assigned to fly the same mission, with Dodson as his wingman.

    They got to the planes and a crew chief snapped shots of them with a disposable camera, and the two hammed it up for the pictures before their first flight together. Then it dawned on them that, well, this isn’t this how it goes in the movies before something bad happens to one of the people?

    “He took the camera and said, ‘That wasn’t a good idea,’” Dodson said. “And I said ‘Yeah, not a good idea.’”

    Thomas threw the camera into his helmet bag and put the bag into the plane, which would crash a little while later in Iraq. Thomas – with Dodson monitoring the apparent fuel leak from the plane, and then letting Thomas know his engine was on fire – ejected from the plane and was rescued a couple hours later.

    While the plane was faltering, the men kept remarkably calm, but Dodson said that’s how Thomas – who was announced Tuesday as a member of the College Football Hall of Fame’s 2012 class – always was.

    “He was always in control, confident and had it together,” Dodson said. “That always trickled downhill to the people he was with.”

    One of the things that stood out most to Dodson about his old friend was his leadership ability. He told a story about how the squadron was facing a tense mission of dropping bombs in Baghdad. The young pilots were grim and nervous on the bus ride over to the planes, knowing the danger involved.

    “Spike just stepped up and was the leader, and said ‘Look guys, today we have an away game!’” Dodson said. “It pulled people out of their heads and got them to focus on their jobs.”

    Dodson said the old Air Force football captain always had a well-timed joke that put others around him at ease before or during a mission, and that Thomas’ leadership seemed to come naturally. Although Thomas wasn’t a major or colonel, he was well respected in the squadron.

    “Spike ‘s rank didn’t project him in a role of leadership,” Dodson said. “But the aura about him, people looked to him as a leader, especially the group of younger fighter pilots.”

    Thomas has often spoke about how his football career at Air Force was invaluable during his time as a pilot, including when he had to parachute into Iraq after ejecting from his burning plane.

    “I don’t want to make it seem like a small thing, but I had been put in pressure situations and had to rely on others to do their job on the football field to have success,” Thomas said a couple hours after the hall of fame announcement. “(Being rescued in Iraq) just all orchestrated like returning a kick. Every guy was doing their job, no matter how big or small.”

    Although Dodson joked that he couldn’t believe he had to hear about his old friend’s election to the hall of fame from a reporter and not Thomas himself, he praised his old friend’s dedication to his wife, two children, parents and friends.

    “I can’t tell you enough about what a great person he is,” Dodson said. “Down to the core.”

  • Want to know why Air Force fans love new hall of famer Scott Thomas? Here’s audio of him as his F-16 fighter jet was failing over Iraq

    Tue, May 15, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    Many members of the 2012 College Football Hall of Fame class have some pretty entertaining highlight clips you can find on YouTube, but I bet none are quite like Scott Thomas’ most noteworthy clip.

    In the video below is audio from when Thomas, a former Air Force safety known as “Spike” who was elected to the hall of fame, had to eject from his F-16 fighter jet over Iraq – during the Gulf War – because of an engine fire. In what would be the most terrifying moment of most anyone’s life, it’s striking how calm Thomas remains. He has spoken before about how his Falcons football career prepared him to keep a level head in that moment. If you want some insight into why Thomas is still revered by Air Force fans, perhaps more than any other player that has ever played for the Falcons, click the video before and listen to him in action.

  • Congratulations to former Air Force safety Scott Thomas, College Football Hall of Famer

    Tue, May 15, 2012 by admin with 1 comment

    Of all the players in Air Force football history, Scott Thomas might evoke the most passion.

    He might not have been as dominant as Chad Hennings or finished in the Heisman Trophy voting like Dee Dowis, but Thomas was tough, exciting and fun to watch. Fans will talk lovingly about the big hits, the big plays, and how he parachuted out of his malfunctioning F-16 fighter jet over Iraq during the Gulf War and survived.

    Now, Thomas is a hall of famer.

    Thomas was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday, becoming the fourth Falcon to get that honor. Offensive tackle Brock Strom and defensive tackle Hennings were joined by longtime Falcons coach Fisher DeBerry last year. Thomas’ induction makes it two hall of famers in two years for Air Force.

    Thomas played for the Falcons from 1982-85. He had 221 tackles, 10 interceptions and averaged 28.8 yards per kickoff return. He was an All-American in 1985, and returned a punt, kickoff and interception for a touchdown on a team that went 12-1 and finished the season ranked fifth in the country. He was also part of four wins over Notre Dame and helped Air Force go 7-1 against Army and Navy.

    Thomas logged 4,100 hours of military flight time after graduation from the academy. He currently works at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, training pilots.

  • Watch the College Football Hall of Fame induction live today; Air Force’s Scott Thomas on the ballot

    Tue, May 15, 2012 by admin with no comments

    After getting coach Fisher DeBerry into the College Football Hall of Fame last year, Air Force is hoping for a repeat with safety Scott Thomas this year. Thomas, the Falcons’ All-American safety from 1982-85, is on the hall of fame ballot this year. He is the only Air Force player up for induction.

    The announcement today at 9:30 a.m. Mountain time will be live online, at the National Football Foundation’s site, its YouTube channel and on ESPN3.com. Here are the details. There will be 14 players and three coaches added to the hall of fame in this year’s class.