2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • F-FC grad Kevin Davis back in the mix for CSU after injury

    Wed, June 18, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    KevinDavisFountain-Fort Carson graduate Kevin Davis is healthy this summer for Colorado State.

    Davis, who earned All-America honors from Parade after his senior year in the Trojans, appeared in 23 games and made 23 tackles as a true freshman in 2012. He made five stops in a road game at Air Force that season.

    His 2013 season was marred by a knee injury that limited him to just four games. The NCAA granted Davis a medical hardship, so he will be a sophomore heading into the 2014 campaign.

    “He just went through spring practice and did every practice,” said CSU linebackers coach Tim Skipper. “We didn’t have to take him out of any drills or anything, so we’re looking forward to him being healthy.”

    The Rams’ post-spring depth chart lists Davis at No. 2 at weak-side linebacker, behind senior Aaron Davis.

    Skipper cautioned against putting much stock in that chart.

    “That all gets solidified after training camp,” he said. “You could put my name in there if you want.”

     

  • Change to North Gate hours shouldn’t impact traffic for major AFA events

    Wed, June 11, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Traffic for major Air Force athletic events shouldn’t see a difference from Wednesday’s announced reduction in North Gate access hours.

    The academy will reduce visitors’ access to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through the north entrance beginning on July 1. This is a two-hour reduction in public access, a move made for cost-cutting purposes rather than out of security concerns.

    Department of Defense cardholders will still be granted access through the north gate from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., but the gate will no longer remain open until 1:30 a.m. on weekends. Anyone entering or leaving the base after 10 p.m. must use the South Gate.

    The changes are for daily operation and should not impact event cordons that allow traffic to proceed through the gate like normal, according to assistant athletic director Troy Garnhart.

    Late finishes “could be an issue for some events that don’t have the cordon, but we’re working with security forces on that,” Garnhart wrote to The Gazette on Wednesday.

     

  • Time, broadcast details set for Air Force football at Georgia State

    Tue, June 10, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Another date on Air Force’s football schedule has been finalized, as the Sept. 13 game at Georgia State will be played at 2 p.m. (noon in Colorado Springs) and broadcast by ESPN3.

    This game, played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, will be the first between the programs.

    The Panthers moved up to FBS last year and went 0-12, though they did play Troy and Arkansas State within singe digits.

    Air Force still have five dates in the 2014 season without television right assigned.

     Here’s the schedule as it now stands:

     

    2014 Air Force Football Schedule

    Day     Date           Opponent (TV)                             Time

    Sat.      Aug. 30      vs. Nicholls State                          TBA

    Sat.      Sept. 6        at Wyoming*(ESPNU)                  8:15 p.m.

    Sat.      Sept. 13     at Georgia State (ESPN3)             2 p.m.

    Sat.      Sept. 20     OPEN                                              –

    Sat.      Sept. 27     vs. Boise State* (CBSSN)             5 p.m.

    Sat.      Oct. 4         vs. Navy (CBSSN)                           1:30 p.m.

    Sat.      Oct. 11       at Utah State*(ESPN Net)            TBA

    Sat.      Oct. 18       vs. New Mexico*                          TBA

    Sat.      Oct. 25       OPEN                                              –

    Sat.      Nov. 1         at Army                                          TBA

    Sat.      Nov. 8         at UNLV*                                        TBA

    Sat.      Nov. 15      vs. Nevada*                                   TBA

    Fri.      Nov. 21      at San Diego State* (CBSSN)       6:30 p.m.

    Fri.      Nov. 28      vs. Colorado State* (CBSSN)       1:30 p.m.

    *-Mountain West game

    Times are local to site

    ESPN Net – ESPN Networks

  • Air Force football will play night game at Wyoming in September

    Thu, June 5, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    For the second straight year, Air Force’s matchup against Wyoming will end at or near midnight.

    The Sat., Sept. 6 game at Laramie, Wyo., has been picked up by ESPNU and will kick off at 8:15 p.m.

    Six of Air Force’s 12 games now have television rights assigned. None so far qualify Air Force for conference television bonus money. Even if the game at Wyoming or the game at Utah State, which is set to be shown on an ESPN network, were to be moved to ESPN or ESPN2, as the road team the Falcons would not receive a television bonus.

    Air Force hosted Wyoming this past year on Sept. 13, with the game beginning at 8:26 p.m and ending four minutes before midnight.

    Here’s the updated AFA schedule for 2014:

    2014 Air Force Football Schedule

    Day     Date           Opponent (TV)                             Time

    Sat.      Aug. 30      vs. Nicholls State                          TBA

    Sat.      Sept. 6        at Wyoming*(ESPNU)                  8:15 p.m.

    Sat.      Sept. 13     at Georgia State                            TBA

    Sat.      Sept. 20     OPEN                                              –

    Sat.      Sept. 27     vs. Boise State* (CBSSN)             5 p.m.

    Sat.      Oct. 4         vs. Navy (CBSSN)                           1:30 p.m.

    Sat.      Oct. 11       at Utah State*(ESPN Net)            TBA

    Sat.      Oct. 18       vs. New Mexico*                          TBA

    Sat.      Oct. 25       OPEN                                              –

    Sat.      Nov. 1         at Army                                          TBA

    Sat.      Nov. 8         at UNLV*                                        TBA

    Sat.      Nov. 15      vs. Nevada*                                   TBA

    Fri.      Nov. 21      at San Diego State* (CBSSN)       7:30 p.m.

    Fri.      Nov. 28      vs. Colorado State* (CBSSN)       1:30 p.m.

    *-Mountain West game

    Times are Mtn.

    ESPN Net – ESPN Networks

  • Golfer Westmoreland, runner Eichenberger earn Air Force top male, female athlete honors

    Wed, June 4, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Air Force recently announced its award winners for the 2013-14 season. Here’s the full release from the Academy:

     

    Air Force athletics announces major award winners; recap of 2013-14 athletic season

     U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force athletics recognized several cadet-athletes as the end of the 2013-14 sports season at the Academy’s annual awards ceremony recently. Senior track and field star Annette Eichenberger and senior golfer Kyle Westmoreland were named female and male athlete of the year, respectively. Senior diver Rachel Kennedy earned the scholar-athlete award while senior wrestler Devin Hightower won the athletic leadership award. Senior hockey player Adam McKenzie won the athletic excellence award and Erik Smith of the lacrosse team won the athletic achievement award.   

    A complete round up of the top six award winners, as well as highlights from each sport and the most valuable athlete from each sport follows below.

    SCHOLAR-ATHLETE AWARD: Senior diver Rachel Kennedy has a 3.98 grade point average in biology/pre-medical studies. A three-time Mountain West Conference scholar-athlete honoree, Kennedy ranks in the top 10 in her graduating class in academics (fourth), athletics (second) and military performance (sixth). She has been on the Superintendent’s list for excellence in academics, athletics and military performance every semester at the Academy. In addition, Kennedy is the top graduate for the department of biology for the class of 2014.

    ATHLETIC LEADERSHIP AWARD: Senior wrestler Devin Hightower was selected to serve as one of the Falcons’ team captains, providing leadership both on and off the mat. Despite battling injury through the midpoint of the season, Hightower, who finished the year with an 18-13 overall record, battled back to place second at the NCAA West Regional, becoming an NCAA qualifier for the first time. Hightower has also proven himself as a leader in the Cadet Wing throughout his career, including a stint as the Operations Group Commander last summer.

    ATHLETIC EXCELLENCE: Adam McKenzie became one of the most decorated Falcon hockey players, both on and off the ice, in school history. A three-time all-Atlantic Hockey Association selection, he was also a three-time academic all-conference selection, a two-time academic all-district honoree and a 2013 Academic All-American. McKenzie carries a 3.89 GPA as an aeronautical engineering major and was the No. 1 cadet in the aeronautical engineering major. A second-team all-conference defenseman and team captain as a senior, he helped lead the Falcons to a regular-season conference championship, two conference tournament titles and two NCAA tournament appearances. He concluded his career ranked 12th in school history in points by a defenseman.

    OUTSTANDING ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT: Senior lacrosse player Erik Smith was named the recipient of the 2013-14 Athletic Achievement Award. One of the Falcons’ best all-around players, Smith became the first player in program history to be drafted professionally, selected by the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse. The four-year starting midfielder closed out his career with 67 goals and 51 assists, while also setting a program record for career ground balls (231). A first-team All-ECAC selection at midfield in 2014, Smith helped lead Air Force to one of its most successful seasons in program history, as the Falcons won a share of the ECAC Lacrosse League regular season championship, captured their first-ever ECAC tournament title and earned their first NCAA bid since 1988. An honorable mention All-American, Smith was also named a USILA Scholar All-American, just the second player in program history to earn the award, and was selected to compete in the North/South All-Star Game.

     FEMALE MOST VALUABLE ATHLETE: (as of 20 May 14) Highlighted by the program’s first-ever conference title in an indoor running event, Annette Eichenberger is in the midst of a record-setting senior season for Air Force. Eichenberger, who won the conference title in the 800-meter run during the 2014 Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships, set three Academy records during the indoor campaign. In addition to breaking the program’s four-year old record in the 800-meter run at Iowa State (2:06.53), Eichenberger also clocked program-best times in the non-traditional 600-meter (1:31.56 at the New Mexico Team invitational) and 1000-meter (2:51.19 at the Holiday Inn Invitational) events. The success continued during the outdoor season, where she clocked the program’s fastest Division I time in the 800-meter run (2:04.52, second all-time) at the Drake Relays and posted the Academy’s second-fastest overall time in the 1500-meter run (4:23.28) at the Stanford Invitational. Her success wasn’t limited to the track, as Eichenberger also shined for the Falcons during the cross country season. The Falcons’ team captain, she earned all-conference honors after finishing ninth among 86 runners at the 2013 Mountain West Cross Country Championships.

     MALE MOST VALUABLE ATHLETE: Senior Kyle Westmoreland won the team MVP award for the third consecutive season. He tied the school record this season with a 71.7 average per round, equaling Tom Whitney’s record set in 2009-10. Westmoreland won the prestigious Patriot All-America Championships in December on the sixth playoff hole, defeating 83 other players. He also won the season-opening Falcon Invitational and finished fourth at the Mountain West Championships, the best finish by an Air Force player at a conference tournament since 1985. Westmoreland, who posted five top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes this year, finished 22nd at the NCAA Division I Region Championships, playing in the tournament for the second consecutive season.

     

  • Air Force outfielder named to freshmem All-American team

    Wed, June 4, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Air Force freshman outfielder Tyler Jones was one of two from the Mountain West named to the Louisville Slugger Freshmen All-American Team, it was announced on Wednesday.

    The team is compiled by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

     Jones led the Falcons with a batting average of .338. He scored 30 runs and drove in a team-best 31. The second-team All-Mountain West selection from Coppell, Texas, led the squad with 19 doubles and two triples, and was second with four home runs.

    Nevada outfielder/pitcher Trenton Brooks also earned the honor.

  • Air Force athletic director announces upcoming retirement via press release

    Thu, May 22, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Hans Mueh

    Hans Mueh

    Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh made official his intention to retire following the upcoming school year through a press release from the academy.

    Mueh had previously announced his intention to leave following his current contract, reitterating that intent this past weekend.

    Below is the full press release sent out by Air Force on Thursday morning:

     

     

     

    Air Force AD Dr. Hans Mueh announces his retirement

    Long-time Academy leader leaving following 2014-15 academic year

     

    U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. – Air Force Academy Director of Athletics Dr. Hans J. Mueh has announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2014-15 academic year, which will be his 11th as AD and 43rd overall at the Academy.

    “I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to be in the chair as AD of the best Division I program in the NCAA,” Mueh said. “These 10-plus years have flown by because athletics is a non-stop business, and we’ve had so many changes in coaching staffs, construction projects, a whole new corporation to help keep us competitive, and thousands of home contests.

    “I could not imagine that there’s a better, more committed, more competent, and more professional staff anywhere in the NCAA,” he added. “They’ve made my job easy, so I’ve had the chance to enjoy watching these future Air Force leaders display their courage, stamina, self confidence, self discipline, teamwork, and that indomitable will to win at the highest levels of competition. To quote Lou Gehrig, “I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth.””

    A retired Air Force brigadier general, Mueh was vice dean of faculty for two years prior to his retirement from active duty in the summer of 2004 and his appointment as athletic director. Mueh was heavily involved in Academy athletics before becoming director of athletics. He was the Academy’s faculty athletic representative from 1996-2004 and was a long-time member of the board of directors for the Air Force Academy Athletics Association.

    Since becoming the director of athletics, Mueh has led the Academy to some remarkable feats. In 2007, the Academy was one of only three schools (Michigan State and Boston College) to reach post-season play in football (2007), men’s basketball and ice hockey (2006-07). It marked the first time a service academy has ever had a team compete in the post-season in all three sports.

    In addition, under his watch the men’s basketball team has played in another NCAA tournament and the National Invitational Tournament’s Final Four. The ice hockey team has won conference championships and advanced to the NCAA tournament five times. Mueh was on the selection committee that hired current head coach Frank Serratore and led the Academy’s move into the Atlantic Hockey Association. 

    The football program, the Academy’s flagship sport, has gone through a major overhaul under Mueh. He led the transition from the retirement of the legendary Fisher DeBerry after 23 years at the helm to hiring current head coach Troy Calhoun, a 1989 Academy graduate. Calhoun’s impact was immediate, leading the Falcons to a 9-4 overall mark and a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference in 2007. The Falcons qualified for their first bowl game in seven years, playing in the Armed Forces Bowl in 2007. The program has gone to a school-record six consecutive bowl games and averaged over 9,000 bowl tickets sold. 

    Mueh has been just as successful behind the scenes with the administration of the department. He restructured the department with an internal/external model that has streamlined resources and made the department more effective from top to bottom. In addition, the athletic department made the transition to a federally-chartered non-profit organization in the summer of 2013, which has led to more fund-raising opportunities.

    Mueh was instrumental in the USAFA Endowment and the announcement of the Holaday Athletic Center, an indoor training facility. The $15 million facility was completed in July 2011.

    Mueh has also been active within the conference and the NCAA. He was recently selected to be part of the NCAA Division I Amateurism Cabinet and has been active on the NCAA’s academics/eligibility compliance cabinet, the men’s golf committee and the region 7 postgraduate scholarship committee. Mueh has been equally active within the conference on various leadership committees. He is currently on the awards and recognition committee and has previously served on the joint council executive committee, and committees on championships, television and sportsmanship.  

    Before assuming his duties as vice dean at the Academy, Mueh was permanent professor and head of the department of chemistry at the Academy, a position he held since October 1987 where he oversaw the annual design and instruction of 25 undergraduate courses for 1,500 cadets annually.       

    Mueh was born Jan. 8, 1944, in Celle, Germany, and emigrated to the United States in 1951.  He entered the Air Force in 1962 as a member of the Academy’s eighth graduating class, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1966. While at the Academy, Mueh was a two-year letterman in soccer as a goalie. He still holds the Academy record for saves in a game with 30, accomplishing it twice in 1965 against North Carolina and Benedictine. In his junior and senior years, Mueh helped the Falcons to the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Soccer League championship and quarterfinal berths in the NCAA tournament. He was a first-team all-league selection in 1965.     

    Following graduation, Mueh completed two assignments in intelligence before attending the University of Wisconsin where he earned his master’s degree in chemistry in 1970. He later earned a doctorate degree in chemistry from Wisconsin in 1976 as a distinguished graduate. He has also completed Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.        

    Between earning the two degrees, Mueh returned to the Academy as an instructor in the department of chemistry from 1970-72. He also served as assistant soccer coach and played semi-pro soccer with the Aurora Internationals in Denver during those two years, leading the Internationals to the Colorado state title in 1971.  He volunteered for duty in Vietnam and served as an intelligence officer in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam and at Nakhon Phanom RTAB, Thailand, in 1972 and 1973.   

    After earning his doctorate degree, Mueh returned to the Academy in 1976 as an associate professor of chemistry. He remained at the Academy except for a stint in 1985-86 as the special assistant for technical matters at the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon. 

    In 1986, he assumed the position of acting head, department of chemistry, before being selected for his position of permanent professor and head of the department of chemistry in 1987. As faculty athletic representative, he was active in both the Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference, and was the Academy’s representative on the transition team to form the new MWC, the only faculty athletic representative on the team. He competes in golf, racquetball, handball and tennis, and has promoted Air Force Academy intercollegiate sports throughout his tenure, beginning with work as chairman of the hockey eligibility committee, officer representative to the men’s golf team and five years as the officer representative to the football team.

    Mueh is married to the former Sally Flax of Cincinnati, Ohio. They have three children: Kristine, Kurt and Deborah.

    The Academy will soon begin to market and strategically target an executive level candidate pool with the competencies and motivation to assume the role of athletic director.

  • Air Force center Husar named to preseason watch list

    Mon, May 19, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Air Force senior center Michael Husar Jr. is gaining some preseason recognition, as he was one of 64 names to the Rimington Trophy watch list on Monday.

    Here’s the full press release from Air Force:

     

    Husar, Jr. named to Rimington Trophy watch list

    U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. – Air Force senior Michael Husar, Jr. is one of 64 players nationwide named to the Rimington Trophy watch list. The Rimington Trophy is presented annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football. Since its inception, the Rimington Trophy has raised over $2.5 million for the cystic fibrosis community. The 14-year old award is overseen by the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis and has raised over $100 million for CF Research.

    Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only double winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.

    For more on the Rimington Trophy and a list of past recipients, visit www.rimingtontrophy.com.

    Husar, Jr. returned from season-ending knee injury to lead the Air Force offensive line last season. He played and started in all 12 games in 2013 and led the team in knockdown blocks with 70, the first center in the Calhoun era to do so. He worked with four different starting quarterbacks and anchored an offensive line that allowed just nine quarterback sacks which ranked second in the conference and seventh nationally. The offensive line helped Air Force rank second in the conference and 11th nationally in rushing with a 272.5 per-game.

     Husar, Jr. is a biology major and member of cadet squadron 4. A member of the dean’s and commandant’s lists, Husar, Jr. will be entering space operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base following graduation.

  • Air Force football players to assist with Waldo Canyon burn scar restoration

    Fri, May 16, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    About 50 Air Force football players are slated to help with restoration of the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar area on Tuesday.

    The area, which was charred in the 2012 wildfire, is highly vunerable to flooding after its major loss of vegetation. The players will help install log erosion barriers on hill slopes and/or reseed newly constructed sediment retention basins.

    The football players will help from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

  • Coggins, Parker both leaving Air Force basketball program

    Thu, May 1, 2014 by Brent Briggeman with no comments

    Tre' Coggins

    Tre’ Coggins


    Parker

    Darrius Parker

    Tre’ Coggins is leaving the Air Force basketball team.

    And he’s not alone.

    The sophomore point guard and leading scorer informed coach Dave Pilipovich that he will seek a transfer rather than return for his junior season, which would automatically trigger a commitment to graduate and serve five years as an officer.

    Freshman center Darrius Parker will follow Coggins out of the academy, but Pilipovich said basketball was not a key to either decision.

    “You’ve got to be more into the military part than the athletics part,” Pilipovich said, “because that’s what we’re going to do.”

    The loss of both players will be a major hit. Coggins averaged 16 points per game last year and was the only freshman or sophomore to earn postseason recognition from the Mountain West, as he was a third-team selection.

    Coggins scored 20 or more points eight times his scoring average was the highest for an Air Force sophomore in 27 years. But there were plenty of red flags indicating his stay might be a short one.

    He was suspended for three games in the middle of the conference season, with Pilipovich at the time citing concerns that included academics, military and his approach to the basketball team. Coggins said upon returning that the suspension would not impact his decision to stay at the academy, but his posts to a since-deleted Twitter account began to paint a picture of a cadet who was not content.

    “We’ve talked about and had some good conversations about it,” Pilipovich said. “I know he’s talked about it with his family. He’s never been one that has welcomed the military part of it. He’s done it, but he’s always said it’s been a challenge for him.”

    Coggins participated in just the first week of the Falcons’ four-week offseason training session, taking the extra time to ensure he stayed on top of his academic and military requirements.

    There was no guarantee that Coggins’ performance as a cadet would have been good enough for him to return anyway, but he took any guesswork out of that decision.

    “He said, ‘I’m not going to wait for someone else to make it. I’m going to transfer,’” Pilipovich said. “He said, ‘Coach, I’ve been fighting this for three years.’”

    Coggins has already sent out feelers to schools closer to his home in Southern California, but Pilipovich said no programs had responded as of Thursday morning.

    The Falcons did not have a backup point guard on the roster last year, but figure to have options with Mansfield, Texas-native Jacob Van planning to enter directly from high school and with a pair of prep school standouts in C.J. Siples and Trevor Lyons – the younger brother of recent Falcons standout Michael.

    Pilipovich could not confirm which players plan to attend the academy, as nominations are not yet official for those at the prep school.

    In Parker, the Falcons lose a rare physical presence on the inside. The 6-foot-7 native of Allen, Texas broke into the starting lineup immediately last season before regressing into a backup role. He shot 61.5 percent from the field.

    “He’s one of the best kids I’ve been around,” Pilipovich said of Parker. “He was going to be a key component, and I told him that. He said, ‘I just don’t want to be a military guy. I said, I understand.’”

    Cameron Michael transferred to Northern Colorado last summer after his freshman year and Justin Hammonds left the team beginning of the school year to concentrate on academics, though he later returned.

    Pilipovich said he understood those challenges when he accepted the position.

    “It’s a different place. It’s a great place, but it’s different,” he said. “If they’re not fully to where this is what they want as a career is to be an officer, then maybe they struggle with that and sometimes they struggle even more when they get here because they see what they have to do. As they get closer to that commitment, that third year, it really becomes and issue and a burden if they want to do this or something else. I think that’s been the history of the academy, not just in intercollegiate athletics but in cadets in general.”