2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • What does Dave Pilipovich need to do to keep his job as Air Force’s basketball coach?

    Tue, February 28, 2012 by David Ramsey with 20 comments

    Dave Pilipovich has won two games and lost three as Air Force’s interim coach. He’s enjoyed impressive moments (the win over San Diego State) and grim moments (the late collapse at home against TCU).

    What does Pilipovich need to do to remain Air Force’s head coach?

    Has he already done enough?

    I think he needs to win at least one more game, whether it be tomorrow at New Mexico or Saturday at home against CSU or at the Mountain West Tournament. I don’t see how athletic director Hans Mueh can sell a coach with a 2-6 record to the ticket-buying public.

    But maybe that’s just me.

    Your thoughts?





  • Broncos should offer a fond goodbye to once-great, now-mediocre (at best) Brian Dawkins

    Fri, February 24, 2012 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Brian Dawkins is thinking about retirement. The Denver Broncos should encourage those thoughts.

    Dawkins, a safety, is a possible Hall of Famer. He once combined mind-boggling hitting with solid coverage.

    But those days are gone. Last season Dawkins was mediocre, at best, for the Broncos. It’s time for Dawkins to leave the game. He had a fantastic run. That run is now over.

    John Elway spoke about Dawkins, an unrestricted free agent, at a recent state-of-the-Broncos session.

    “I’m not speaking for him, but he’s probably going through a tough time,” Elway said, according to The Denver Post. “Having been a football player, I know how tough it is to make that decision when you’re getting close to the end of your career to know if you want to continue playing or not. To this point haven’t had a chance to talk to him.”

    If Elway does talk to Dawkins, Mr. Bronco should tell the aging safety it’s time to quit.

  • Air Force’s Weisgarber talks about the shot that got away against Yale

    Thu, February 23, 2012 by David Ramsey with no comments

    With two minutes left in regulation in last season’s NCAA hockey battle between Air Force and Yale, Falcons forward Paul Weisgarber found himself alone in front of the net. It was just him and Yale goaltender Ryan Rondeau.

    The  score was tied at 1. A goal would have almost certainly carried the Falcons to the second round of the tournament.

    Weisgarber took his time instead instantly shooting. He went to his backhand and tried to sneak the puck between Rondeau’s legs. The ploy almost worked, but Rondeau managed to smother the puck.

    I talked with Weisgarber about the failed shot immediately after Air Force’s 2-1 overtime loss to Yale last spring.

    I talked with him about the shot again on Wednesday.

    “Looking back, I kind of wish I would have shot it instead of making a move,” he said.

    “But if you play hockey that way, always having that kind of hindsight mentality, you’re not going to be successful and take that a step further in life, too. So, what happened, happened, and I did what I thought was the best play at the time.”


  • Brady Quinn questions Tebow’s tactics, and that’s good news

    Tue, February 21, 2012 by David Ramsey with 32 comments

    Brady Quinn did not much enjoy last Broncos season. This is not a surprise. This is good news. Coaches, teammates and fans don’t want a backup quarterback who is satisfied with being a backup quarterback.

    In an article written by Michael Silver just posted on gq.com, Broncos backup quarterback Brady Quinn offers criticism of Tim Tebow. It’s nothing ugly. Quinn wonders why Tebow is so intent on praying in public. (I share Quinn’s discomfort with the practice.) Quinn suggests luck had a lot to do with the Broncos’ success. (I agree.)

    Quinn’s comments will most likely create a storm, even though there is nothing especially electric in what he said.

    Here are a few of the quotes:

    Broncos star linebacker Von Miller said Tebow helped transform the team’s attitude. Miller doesn’t give all credit to Tebow, but the linebacker does say Tebow helped inspire the revival.

    “I mean, you could just see our team’s resiliency in action. Nobody was giving up,” Miller said.

    Quinn has a slightly less romantic reason for the Broncos surge:

    “We’ve had a lot of, I guess, luck, to put it simply.”

    Next, Quinn questions Tebow’s very public praying. And before you get too upset with Quinn, remember Jesus instructed his followers in the Gospel of Matthew to pray in private.

    “If you look at it as a whole, there’s a lot of things that just don’t seem very humble to me,” Quinn said. “When I get that opportunity, I’ll continue to lead not necessarily by trying to get in front of the camera and praying but by praying with my teammates, you know?”

    Here’s a link to the article:


    What are your thoughts? Does Quinn go over the line in his remarks? Is he jealous? Or is he just being perceptive in his observations?


  • Lyons shows why Air Force’s future could be bright, or at least brighter

    Thu, February 16, 2012 by David Ramsey with 2 comments

    Michael Lyons is one of the more talented athletes ever to compete for Air Force. He is the most talented basketball athlete I’ve seen in the last nine seasons.

    Last night at Wyoming, Lyons showed why Air Force’s basketball future can be bright, or at least much brighter than its recent past. The Falcons had lost 48 of 57 Mountain West games, which led to the firing of Jeff Reynolds.

    Lyons bombarded the Cowboys, rescued his teammates and revealed once again why he should be one of the Mountain West’s top four or five players. Next season, his senior season, Lyons could climb even higher.

    Interim coach Dave Pilipovich is struggling with a wide variety of challenges, but the most important one is how to motivate Lyons. There’s no good reason Lyons should vanish during long stretches of games. He’s a natural scorer, able to find good shots in traffic. He can drop long 3s, and he can battle with the giants in the lane.

    Wyoming is a quality team. Air Force hasn’t been.

    But Wednesday night, Lyons lifted the gloom from a program. Will this lifting continue?

    There’s no reason why it shouldn’t.



  • Air Force’s Mueh talks about 2009 extension to Reynolds’ contract

    Fri, February 10, 2012 by David Ramsey with 9 comments

    After the 2008-2009 Air Force basketball season, athletic director Hans Mueh offered a contract extension to coach Jeff Reynolds. The extension pushed Reynolds’ contract through August 2014. The extension was offered after Reynolds and the Falcons had finished 0-16 in Mountain West play. The extension would eventually mean the academy would pay Reynolds an approximate $800,000 buyout.

    (Just in case you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, Reynolds was fired by Air Force on Wednesday after losing 47 of his last 56 Mountain West games.)

    A few minutes after announcing Reynolds was gone, Mueh talked about the extension. I want to make clear that this was a respectful conversation with Mueh. He was animated at times, but it wasn’t a contentious discussion.

    “That’s unfair,” Mueh said when I asked about the extension. “That’s hindsight. I truly believed at the time that Jeff would be the guy to mold  himself into the right person to lead this program.”

    Mueh said he follows a motto in his life and in his career.

    “Never look back,” he said.

    “It’s behind me,” he said of the extension. “There’s nothing I can do about that.”


  • Air Force should hire A.J. Kuhle to replace Reynolds

    Wed, February 8, 2012 by David Ramsey with 27 comments

    A. J. Kuhle should replace Jeff Reynolds as Air Force’s basketball coach. Kuhle, currently an assistant at the University of Denver,  arrived at the academy in 2000 when the basketball program ranked among the worst in the nation.

    When he departed in 2004, the Falcons were the reigning regular-season champs of the Mountain West and had delivered a severe scare to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament. Kuhle understands the work required to rescue a program from the depths.

    And that’s where the Falcons again dwell. Air Force is 1-6 in the Mountain West this season and losers of 47 of its last 56 conference games. During Kuhle’s senior season, Clune Arena was a happy, loud, jammed destination. Now, Clune is quiet and empty. A devoted core of 1,500 fans have refused to quit on the Falcons, but most of those who traveled to Clune during the Falcons glory days of 2003-2007 have found other things to do on winter nights.

    Reynolds never fit at Air Force. He was too focused on the restrictions and limitations. He couldn’t accept transfers. He couldn’t recruit international players. He had to find quality basketball players who were quality students. Oh, and by the way, these players also had to want to serve in the military.

    Reynolds had his moments. He recruited Michael Lyons, one of the most gifted athletes in academy history. He lifted his team last season after the Falcons lost to crosstown rival Colorado College. This defeat was a catastrophe, and it seemed to doom Reynolds.  He willed the Falcons to a 6-10 record in the Mountain West. It was his finest hour.

    But he couldn’t sustain the momentum. This season’s Falcons are unfocused and playing well below the level of their talent.

    The program needs someone who embraces the challenges. The program needs someone who understands how to overcome the restrictions. The program needs someone who believes a winner can be constructed despite all the reasons for doubt.

    Kuhle, 29, is in the middle of another renovation project at Denver, and there’s no doubt the job is going well.  When Kuhle arrived with former Air Force coach Joe Scott in 2007, the Pioneers were stumbling around in college basketball’s basement. DU had finished 4-25 the season before. It was ugly scenario, much as the Air Force scenario had been ugly in 2000.

    On Saturday, DU defeated Middle Tennessee State at Magness Arena. Middle Tennessee had defeated UCLA (at UCLA) and boasted a 10-0 record in the Sun Belt Conference.

    The victory pushed DU to a 17-7 record. A snoozing program has been awakened.

    Here’s my favorite Kuhle moment from his Air Force career. It says everything about his approach to the game. During Kuhle’s senior season at Air Force, the Falcons traveled to Salt Lake to play Utah. The Utes had finished 115-26 in conference play over the previous decade. Air Force had finished 28-113 during the same time.

    Kuhle made three straight 3-pointers to erase a 10-point Utah lead. He dropped these 3s while listening to the howling disapproval of Utah fans.

    But it got better.

    Late in the second half, Utah went inside to 6-foot-10 center Tim Frost, who rose for what at first seemed an uncontested dunk.

    Kuhle swooped into the scene. Kuhle stands 6-foot-4, maybe.

    Didn’t matter.

    He blocked Frost’s dunk. Kuhle was flying above rim level as he saved Air Force’s victory, one of the biggest in the history of the program.

    The next day, Kuhle acted as if the dunk was no big deal. That’s his style. He doesn’t get very excited about anything.

    “I ultimately jumped higher than him,” he said of the block.

    On that play, Kuhle trampled the odds. There was no way he could block Frost’s dunk, only he did.

    Kuhle is the right choice. He understands the culture of the academy. He understands the challenges.

    And he has a history of defeating all challenges.


  • Troy Calhoun remembers Lee Douglas

    Tue, February 7, 2012 by David Ramsey with 11 comments

    Here’s a text I received from Air Force coach Troy Calhoun. This is his tribute to KOAA sports anchor Lee Douglas, who died over the weekend:

    “Lee could cover athletics in a professional yet heartfelt way. He loved Colorado and especially the Colorado Springs and Pueblo communities. Sports is much more thoroughly covered today than 30 years ago; yet Lee had a unique ability to still provide a fresh and open viewpoint.”



  • Former Bronco QB Bubby Brister talks about Tebow’s future

    Mon, February 6, 2012 by David Ramsey with no comments

    Bubby Brister isn’t the forgotten man from the Broncos second Super Bowl title team, but he is often overlooked. He played a key role in Denver’s run to the  World Championship, coming off the bench to relieve an injured John Elway and delivering four wins in four games as a starter. He threw 10 touchdowns in the 1998 season. In his 15-season career, Brister threw for 14,445 yards for the Steelers, Jets, Broncos and Vikings.

    I talked with Brister last week about Tim Tebow.

    “Man, I think he had a great year. A lot of people were surprised. The broncos needed a shot in the arm, and that’s what he gave them.

    “Now, look, I think there are things he needs to work on.  If he works on his throwing motion, gets it a little quicker, anticipates his receivers more, that will really help him. There are a lot of people out there with unorthodox throwing  motions. Look at  Bernie Kosar. (Kosar threw for 23,301 yards during his 1985-96 career with Browns, Cowboys and Dolphins.)

    “Tebow’s a winner, and I’m pulling for him.  I just want him to succeed.

    There are other guys out there who talk about doing things the right way. Well, let’s just leave it at that. Tebow really does do things the right way. He’s a heck of a role model.”


  • Navy’s Niumatalolo might want to drop Air Force from football schedule

    Thu, February 2, 2012 by David Ramsey with 19 comments

    Now that Navy is joining the Big East (scheduled arrival 2015),  football coach Ken Niumatalolo might want to drop Air Force from the schedule.

    “I’d rather keep Army and Notre Dame and not worry about the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy,” Niumatalolo told ESPN. “We’re in a conference now. So we need to try to win a conference championship.” (Niumatalolo was talking about Navy’s plans if the Midshipmen play a nine-game Big East schedule. It’s unclear if the Big East will have an eight-game or nine-game schedule when Navy arrives in 2015.)

    First off, Ken, I don’t think you need to worry about winning a Big East title. A 4-4 (or 5-4 in a 9-game schedule) conference finish will be a superb year for the Midshipmen. Navy is not destined to win a Big East title. Not going to happen.

    Second, Ken, it’s interesting to see how you react when you find yourself in the same situation Air  Force coaches have been in for decades. Now that you’re preparing to leave the comfort and safety and exceedingly easy schedules of your life as an independent, you’re open to ending your rivalry with Air Force.

    Air Force has beaten Navy two straight times. This is one of college football’s most intense, most entertaining rivalries. Army-Navy is all about yesterday. Air Force-Navy is all about today.

    Niumatalolo wants to keep playing Army. This makes sense. Navy pounds Army every year. It’s an easy win.

    Welcome to reality, Ken. Life as an indy is easy. Life in a conference will bring tough challenges to your life and to the lives of Navy fans everywhere.

    Drop Air Force from the schedule?

    Bad idea.