2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • McInelly Out as Women’s Basketball Coach

    Mon, March 29, 2010 by admin with 5 comments

    Air Force has fired women’s basketball coach Ardie McInelly, according to an academy news release.

    The Falcons went 3-27 in the recently completed 2009-10 season, including 0-16 in Mountain West Conference play – their second consecutive winless league season. McInelly’s teams went 57-201 in her nine seasons, including 12-124 in MWC play. The women’s basketball program has lost 37 consecutive games to MWC opponents.

    “We felt that now was the right time to go in another direction in our women’s basketball program,” Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh said. “Our primary mission at the academy is to build leaders of character for our Air Force, and we will look to find an individual to help us continue that mission. We wish Ardie well and thank her for her nine years of service to the academy.”

  • More from Mueh

    Wed, March 10, 2010 by admin with 4 comments

    Here are some more excerpts from the conversation I had Tuesday with Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh about the men’s basketball program. As I wrote in this article, Mueh gave coach Jeff Reynolds an endorsement.

    On whether he expects things to get better next year: “I do. I do. … I never gave up on this team. I really believe the New Mexico game (Air Force lost at The Pit, 59-56, on Feb. 20) showed the potential that this team had. We were reasonably healthy at that point. We didn’t have Sammy (Schafer) back, but everybody played, I think, to their capacity, and we played the No. 10, roughly, team in the nation to almost a draw. That was very encouraging. And I talked to the team the other day, and I said, you know, I really believed watching that game that that was a statement by you guys to say, ‘Hey world, look at us, we can play this game. And we’ll show you.’ … I think we’ve got some great kids coming up from the prep school. I watched the prep school play our JV and essentially dismantle our JV – very crisp, solid, solid ball-handlers, good shooters, and they’re coming up to join this squad.”

    On Schafer, who has been out since the third game of the season with post-concussion symptoms: “I don’t know about Sammy. Sammy worries me because he’s such a great, great young man. And I don’t actually care about the basketball, I worry about Sammy. Because he still wants to be President of the United States, and he needs to graduate from the Air Force Academy to be President of the United States, in his mind and in my mind.” [I asked if he worried if Sammy would ever be able to play again] “I worry that we can’t graduate him because of the medical situation. I’m praying that somebody finds out what’s wrong with him.”

    On Grant Parker’s pelvic injury: “If we have Grant playing the way he was playing (early) for the whole season, instead of losing 10 games – and it wasn’t 10 games, it was from that point on in the season, because he’s not 100 percent. He tries really hard, but it’s not there. The steps that he had early on. Even the planting to hit the shots is not back. And he was a huge, huge key to this season. He was a leader on this team. We needed that kind of leadership from a big man. This is his senior year, he had it going and then he gets this mystery injury. And you just shake your head going what else?”

    On if he remains confident in Reynolds: “I do. Because I don’t think he’s had a fair chance to show his coaching ability. The first year, everybody praised him, including me. When we lost those great, great players (from the 2006-07 team) and we had Timmy Anderson and some other guys, but Timmy Anderson was special – Defensive Player of the Year in the conference and he was at a position where he could direct traffic. That was a very, very important position to have. If Timmy Anderson had been a forward, I don’t think we would have had that kind of success. But because he was where he was and could take true control of that team, we went 16-14, and it was phenomenal. To do what we did that season – 8-8 in the conference. I thought, wow. And then the wheels sort of came off. Jeff’s second season, last year. … It was one of those years that it didn’t mesh. It just didn’t mesh. And then this year with the injuries, I really believe had an impact. Because I really thought we would win half a dozen games in the conference this year. And I think, in hindsight, if we had had the team we started with when we were 5-2 and growing, I think maybe that was possible.”

    On Reynolds: “Jeff is a very good basketball coach, and he and I have talked too. He aches, I ache with him. I think his assistants are phenomenal people. He has hand-picked a bunch of really good people. And I go down to practice, I watch. I told Jeff he ought to pat them on the butt a little more than he does, but, you know, that’s coaching – that sort of style. It’s harder and harder when you’re not winning. But I think that will get better. It’s amazing what wins will do for you. Winning is so far better than losing it’s unbelievable. It solves everything.”

    On whether he’ll set benchmarks for victories in 2010-11 or if he’ll just have a feel for if the team is improving: “I wouldn’t want to set, ‘OK, Jeff, I expect you to win six or seven games.’ But I think you’re right – we will know when we’re in games. When we lose by an average of 17, 18 points a game, then we’re not there. If we’re losing by a couple and then maybe we pick off a couple, everybody will know, I think, that we’re in these games. And maybe we’ve added a little quickness, maybe we’ve added a little ball skill, maybe we’ve added a little shooting.”

    On winning: “I’d love to win more. I ache for these kids every time out because they play so hard and they play so hard in practice and the coaches get frustrated and the players get frustrated. But I’m an eternal optimist, and I really believe we can play. We’ve proven that. … I went back to look at the league. The league RPIs when we were at the top, and we didn’t have as many good teams in the league back when we were winning. When we won the (MWC) title, I think there were two good teams in the league. So things have changed a little bit.”

  • Wednesday Morning Links

    Wed, March 10, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Greetings from Las Vegas.

    The Air Force women’s basketball team lost in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament here yesterday, falling to Utah, 63-40.

    The men face Wyoming today in the play-in game of the men’s tournament. Here are 3 Things to Watch in the game. It could be the last for senior forward/center Grant Parker, who wants to go out with a better performance than he had in the Falcons’ final two regular season games.

    Also, I spoke to Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh after yesterday’s women’s game about the men’s program and coach Jeff Reynolds. Mueh endorsed Reynolds. I’ll post some more excerpts from our conversation later today in the blog. Gazette columnist David Ramsey writes in his blog (http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com) that giving Reynolds a new contract after last season made no sense.

  • Mueh Endorses Reynolds

    Tue, March 9, 2010 by admin with 5 comments

    I spoke with Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh here in Las Vegas this afternoon after the women’s basketball team lost in the first round of the Mountain West Conference tournament to Utah, 63-40.

    We chatted about the men’s basketball program (for a story I’ll be doing later this week) and coach Jeff Reynolds. Mueh endorsed Reynolds and said he wants the coach back next year.

    I’ll have more from our conversation tomorrow morning in the blog.

  • Tuesday Morning Links

    Tue, January 26, 2010 by admin with no comments

    The Air Force men’s basketball team faces UNLV tonight in Las Vegas, trying to snap a 21-game losing streak in Mountain West Conference regular season games.

    Despite that losing streak, athletic director Hans Mueh tells Gazette columnist David Ramsey he has confidence in head coach Jeff Reynolds – see Ramsey’s column here.

    As for tonight’s game, here are my 3 Things to Watch. One other thing to keep an eye on is the perimeter shooting of the Falcons’ big men – Air Force’s offense would benefit greatly if they could knock a few down.

    One gloomy stat for the season: Air Force is 8-10 overall. Of those eight victories, six came against Division I programs, and just two of those programs had winning records heading into today – Charleston Southern (10-9) and Prairie View A&M (10-8).

    The other four teams have a combined record of 25-56.

  • Hans on DeRuyter as Future Head Coach Candidate

    Mon, January 25, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Gazette columnist David Ramsey posted more of his interview with Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh on his blog: http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com.

    This part of the interview deals with former defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter (who recently took the defensive coordinator post at Texas A&M) as a future candidate for the head coaching job at Air Force.

  • Ramsey Interviews Mueh

    Fri, January 22, 2010 by admin with no comments

    Gazette columnist David Ramsey interviewed Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh about a variety of subjects on Thursday. Excerpts from the interview – touching on former defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, football coach Troy Calhoun and men’s basketball coach Jeff Reynolds – are available on his blog (http://daveramseysez.freedomblogging.com).

    Also, Ramsey set the stage for his upcoming competition with the BlogDog. The BlogDog is joining Ramsey, Gazette Broncos beat writer Frank Schwab and Gazette sports editor Jim O’Connell in predicting the NFL conference championship games this weekend.