Joe Scott looks to "re-energize" Falcons hoops in second stint

Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 8:45 PM MDT
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Joe Scott's coaching career has come full circle.

On Wednesday, Scott talked to the media for the first time since accepting the Air Force basketball head coaching gig. It's a spot he was in nearly two decades prior, leading the Falcons to historic heights from 2000 to 2004.

"We don't think Air Force is a special place, we know Air Force is a special place," Scott said on a conference call Wednesday. "We're going to be able to re-energize the program pretty quickly. I like what I see and I can't wait to get started working with the guys."

Scott's fiery coaching style paid dividends in 2004, when the Falcons won the only Mountain West regular season championship in school history. Air Force snagged the 11 seed in the NCAA Tournament that year and, at one point, was nationally ranked (25th).

Scott departed for head coaching jobs at Denver and his alma mater, Princeton. Despite his track record, Scott could never replicate his success at Air Force, nor the 22-7 record in 2004. Now, he's ready for his second stint to bring the magic back to Clune Arena.

"Joe's a person of great character," Air Force Athletic Director Nathan Pine said. "He's a mentor, and he's a winner. I've seen first-hand just how quickly he can come in and change a mindset and lead a program of young men to have some confidence in the abilities."

The Falcons have finished with a losing record in seven consecutive seasons. The most recent, an uninspired 12-20 record in 2019, led to the firing of then-head coach Dave Pilipovich. Air Force has not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2006.

And Scott, like his coaching style, understands nose-to-the-grindstone play is how to spark that early-millennia success.

"The toughness, the grit, the wanting the challenge, the competitiveness and the desire... that is the Air Force Academy"