The Air Force Academy Falcons men’s basketball team had a tremendous season. And that cost them a head coach.
After weeks of speculations AFA’s Joe Scott leaving to take the head coaching job with the Princeton University Tigers. The job opened up on Tuesday when John Thompson, III accepted the coaching position at Georgetown. A news conference will be held at Princeton on Friday to make it official.
Scott is a 1987 graduate of Princeton and grew up in New Jersey. This season he led the Falcons to their first NCAA appearance in 42 years and a 22-and-7 record---the best record in school history. The Falcons also won the Mountain West Conference title. Scott, age 39, spent four seasons as the Falcons’ head coach. He'll be Princeton's 27th head coach of men’s basketball.
As a player, Scott was a two-time all-Ivy League selection as a guard. And he was a Princeton assistant coach from 1992 to 2000.
In an exclusive television interview Wednesday afternoon, Scott told KKTV it was a tough two days for him. He talked it over with his wife---she's a Princeton alum as well---and he came to his decision Wednesday morning, and then called Princeton to tell them.
This is some of what Scott said about his decision to leave the Academy for his alma mater:
"When I came here---that if the Princeton job ever opened up and they thought I was the right guy for the job that… that is the school I would possibly leave for. And that's how it happened. And, ya know, I'm grateful to my players because I think they're taking it really well. And I think they understand Princeton. They know what that means. And that doesn't make it any easier. But I know to be able to go there--and know that my guys here understand it---I think that says a lot about the guys here."
Princeton's Director of Athletics Gary Walters said, "I am tremendously excited to announce that Joe Scott is the next men’s basketball coach at Princeton. He's an alumnus and was recognized as one of the top five coaches during this past season. His coaching job at Air Force was extraordinary."
After their record setting season, a couple of Falcon players had said if Joe Scott took another job, it might affect them. That may include center Nick Welch, the Mountain West Conference co-player of the year. And Antoine Hood may consider transferring to another school as well.
Both players are sophomores, and, they have the option to transfer before their junior year begins. Once their junior year is underway, they're committed to five years of military service. Welch has said, there's no one else in the country for which he’d want to play.
The Air Force Academy is expected to announce Scott's successor Thursday morning.