Bill Wilson has agreed to become the head lacrosse coach at Air Force pending the finalization of the government hiring process, according to an announcement today from Director of Athletics Col. Jen Block. Wilson, who served as the interim head coach last season, has nine years of coaching experience at the Academy.
“I’m very excited to announce Bill Wilson as the next head coach of the Air Force lacrosse program,” said Col. Block. “Bill stepped into a difficult situation last season as interim coach and did a tremendous job rebuilding the culture and climate of the lacrosse program and I’m excited to see this work continue. I’m confident that our program will be successful on and off the field, but more importantly by doing it the right way.”
Wilson has played an integral role in program’s success at the Academy, assisting in guiding the Falcons to their second-straight SoCon championship title and the team’s fifth visit to the NCAA tournament in the 2017 season. Wilson has helped lead Air Force to three conference championships and three NCAA tournament visits in the last five seasons.
“This is a tremendous honor,” said the newly appointed head lacrosse coach. “I would like to thank Air Force Athletics Director Colonel Block along with the Air Force Academy leadership for their support and for believing in me for this position.”
“I’m proud of the young men in this program, they’ve put in a lot of hard work last season and this off season and we are all excited for the future of this team, both on and off the field. We couldn’t be more excited to start the 2019 season and continue our pursuit of a Southern Conference title and beyond.”
In 2016 Wilson assisted in guiding Air Force to its highest national ranking to date (No. 8) and the program’s longest win streak (15 games) for the team’s best finish in program history. Air Force capped the record-breaking season at 15-3 with a perfect mark in conference action, notching an overtime upset over perennial powerhouse, Duke, en route to the program’s fourth NCAA tournament appearance.
Wilson also assisted in coaching all four of the program’s Major Lacrosse League draftees. Erik Smith and Mike Crampton were drafted to the Boston Cannons and Colorado Mammoth, respectively, in the wake of the 2014 season. Following the 2016 campaign, Christopher Allen was drafted to the Charlotte Hounds, while Alex Warden was selected by the Denver Outlaws. Wilson is also a part of the staff that guided four Falcons (five times) to All-America honorable mention status.
Wilson was named the 2014 USILA Division I Outstanding Assistant Coach as he helped lead the program to unprecedented heights, leading the Falcons to their best season ever. The 2014 Falcons compiled an 11-6 overall record and secured their highest win total since 1988. The Falcons were able to clinch a share of the regular season conference title before going on to win the ECAC Tournament title, earning their first NCAA bid since 1988. Air Force went on to host Richmond in the NCAA play-in game, capturing its first NCAA tournament win in program history, before dropping a first-round match-up to defending national champion Duke.
Wilson came to the Academy in the summer of 2009 after spending six years as the head coach at Dartmouth College. During his tenure with the Big Green, he compiled a 40-44 overall record, while coaching nine first-team all-league players, one Ivy League Rookie of the Year, 18 first-team All-New England players and seven players selected in the Major League Lacrosse Draft. Signature wins for Dartmouth during Wilson’s six-year stint include an upset of fourth-ranked Maryland in 2005, a pair of victories of top-10 ranked Notre Dame and a win over 10th-ranked league rival Princeton in 2008.
Wilson’s coaching career began at Princeton University in 1995, where he helped coach the Tigers to the 1996 Ivy League and NCAA championships. He then spent five years as the first assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Hofstra from 1997-2001, when The Pride made four trips in five years to the NCAA Tournament, reaching the quarterfinals in both 1998 and 2000.
Before taking over the helm at Dartmouth in 2004, Wilson served as the first assistant coach and defensive coordinator at Cornell in 2003, helping the Big Red to its first Ivy League title in 16 years.
A 1994 graduate of Loyola College, Wilson was a four-year letterwinner and four-year starter at defense for the Greyhounds. Wilson’s teams at Loyola qualified for the NCAA Tournament each season, while advancing to the quarterfinals three times. He was also honored as a senior by earning a spot in the 1994 North-South All-Star game.
Wilson, a native of Syracuse, N.Y., graduated from West Genesee High School, where he was a two-sport athlete in hockey and lacrosse. In 1990, Wilson’s teams won the New York State Class “A” championships in both sports. In 1989, he represented the Central region in the Empire State Games, earning a gold medal for lacrosse.