Air Force welcomes back Joe Scott as men’s basketball coach

Posted at 11:05 AM, Mar 31, 2020

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY — A familiar face will be back at the helm of the Air Force men's basketball team in former Falcon head coach Joe Scott, according to Athletic Director of Athletics Nathan Pine.

Scott, who was with Air Force from 2001 - 2004, is the only Falcons head coach to led Air Force to their only Mountain West regular season title, first NCAA tournament appearance in 42 years, a top 25 national ranking and a then-school-record 22 wins. He was named MW coach of the year, National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) coach of the year and finished fourth in the balloting for Associated Press national coach of the year in 2004.

Scott compiled a 22-4 (.846) record at home over his final two seasons, including a 3-0 mark in 2003-04. Attendance surged by more than 300 percent during his time leading the Falcons.

“I am pleased to welcome Joe Scott back to the Air Force Academy to lead our men’s basketball program,” Pine said. “Joe is a person of strong character and a leader who will continue to represent our core values at Air Force. He is also a championship-caliber coach who understands the Academy, what we stand for and he knows as well as anyone how to be successful here. Coach Scott is a gifted teacher with a passion for the sport of basketball and developing young men into leaders, he is the perfect person to re-energize our men’s basketball program.”

Scott returns to the Academy after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Georgia.

“I would like to thank Nathan Pine for the opportunity to return to the Academy, as we pursue our common goal of reenergizing Air Force basketball. Thank you to our Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, members of the search committee and everyone else at the Academy connected with the search process. It was a first-class operation all the way. My wife Leah, our two sons, Ben and Jack, and I are extremely grateful and excited to be returning. The Academy is a special place and we loved our time here,” Scott said.

From 2007-16, Scott was head coach at Denver where he inherited a program that was 4-25 and ranked 335th (of 336) in the NCAA RPI prior to his arrival. He led the program to a school-record 22 Division I victories in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, Scott was a finalist for the Hugh Durham Award as the nation’s top mid-major head coach. In 2013, Denver shared the WAC regular-season title, earned a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) bid and secured its first postseason win ever. Within his first five years, Denver was a top 100 RPI team and a top 65 RPI team at the end of his sixth season. Denver was 75-15 (.833) at home over a six year stretch, including a 15-game home winning streak which tied as the ninth longest in the nation entering 2010-11. Denver also had the fifth largest attendance increase in the country in 2011-12.

Earlier this March, Air Force and former men's basketball head coach Dave Pilipovich parted ways after 8 seasons.