Former players confident in Joe Scott's return to Air Force

Joe Scott
Posted at 10:49 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 00:49:10-04

"He's going to make them believers, he's going to make them doers," former Air Force forward Jacob Burtschi said.

In his four years at the helm of the Air Force men's basketball program, Joe Scott brought the Falcons to heights they'd never dreamt of.

"You become fearless, you become so tough that you look at your opponent, they're almost not what everyone else thinks that they are," former Air Force center Nick Welch said.

"The toughness and all the resiliency, that was in our DNA so if Joe would have stayed, the sky is the limit of how great we would have been," former Air Force guard Antoine Hood said.

A true student of the game, the then 38-year old coach found untapped potential and let it loose.

"I know he'll go out and find every gym rat in the country, that knows how to win and try to put them together and make it mean something," Welch said.

15 years later, Scott returns to a program where he led the Falcons to their first Mountain West title, a then record 22-win season and a first NCAA Tournament berth in 40 years.

"I just think the tone will be there, he wont have 40 cough drops a day, he'll have two so his voice will be saved a little bit," Burtschi said.

Former players Antoine Hood, Jacob Burtschi and Nick Welch were all part of the historic 2003-04 team. A unit which bought into their coach's system and played with a tenacity seldom seen since.

"I think a lot of us took on his persona and his identity, because Joe was an underdog as well," Hood said. "His philosophy was: We were going to hate him and bond together or love him and bond together but either way we were going to bond together."

For a program that just endured its seventh-straight losing season, this hire is the perfect way to bring back a winning culture to Colorado Springs.

"Almost like a Michael Jordan mirror-type thing where he built it really well the first time, went away for a little while and came back and built it again," Welch said. "This time actually finishing it the way it was supposed to be finished."

A blast from the past, ready to return the Falcons hoops program to the upper echelon of the conference.

"There's no reason why Air Force can't be middle of the pack, upper pack and then take a stab at the conference title every 3-4 year and Joe Scott will be the guy who creates that," Burtschi said.

"I think we will never lack identity again with Joe," Hood said.