Joe Scott Returns to Colorado for Second Stint with Air Force

The Air Force Academy has hired former DU coach Joe Scott (2007-2016) as the Academy’s next head basketball coach. After stints as an assistant coach at Holy Cross and Georgia, Scott returns to lead Air Force basketball for a second time, after head coaching there from 1999-2004.

Scott was fired by then-DU Athletic Director Peg Bradley-Doppes on March 11th, 2016 after nine seasons and an overall 146-132 record. He had some bright moments at DU. Scott dug the Pioneers out of the bottom of Division I, rose to a WAC title and an NIT win in 2013. Unfortunately, during his final three years, the program suffered some down years, recruiting shortfalls, transfers and falling attendance.

Scott is well known for his fiery sideline demeanor as well as his version of the Princeton offense made famous by his mentor Pete Carril. As time went on, many Denver fans believed his offense to be boring and his sideline behavior boorish while others appreciated the intricacies of his offense, scrappy defense, and his competitive nature. Either way, there were a number of seasons that he got the most out of his teams despite rather average recruiting.

As power conferences continue to pursue top prospects and players change teams more easily, a premium will go to coaches who have a system and can maximize the talents of their squad. As an assistant the past four seasons under veteran head coaches Bill Carmody and Tom Crean at Holy Cross and Georgia, Scott likely learned a few tricks and worked for coaches who are more understated than Scott. Still, a rigid, fiery coach is more likely to fly at the Air Force than nearly anywhere else. For that reason, a return to Air Force might be an ideal fit for Scott. And, we are likely to see Joe Scott again at Air Force this upcoming season. Denver fell to the Falcons 79-75 at Magness Arena this past season.

5 thoughts on “Joe Scott Returns to Colorado for Second Stint with Air Force”

  1. I wish him well, there were some classic games during his time at DU. The ESPN Middle Tennessee game, Louisiana Tech for WAC title, first post season NIT win at home against Ohio. I’ve had season tickets for years, this was my last year, I just can’t watch this current team.

    1. I remember that NIT win at home vs Ohio. That was a lot of fun. If I remember correctly, DU then went on to play Maryland and gave the Terps a pretty good battle.

      I wish Joe well. Hopefully he’s mellowed a bit since his days here. He was as intense and fiery as they come, and I’m just not sure that style works these days. It will be good see him stalking the court at Magness again sometime soon.

  2. Good for Joe. I certainly miss some of the relative competence that he brought to DU. He came in when DU was in the 330s in RPI, became an winning coach in the W/L record, took the program to the highest level of achievement in its D-I history in 2103 (WAC Title/NIT win) and he developed some of unheralded recruits like Royce O’Neale (now in NBA), Chris Udofia (all Summit League), etc. His teams had a unique system, he graduated players, they played good defense and played team-oriented basketball, albeit slower than some liked.

    What I don’t miss was the downside of Scott — his brusque manner, his yelling at players, his recruiting misfires, the multiple transfers, his failures in conference tourneys, and most of all, his inability to take DU to the NCAA tournament. That last failure got him fired.

    Someday, I’m hoping Billups can get to (and exceed) Scott’s level.

  3. Any early scoop on Lanzi and McGlashan entering the transfer portal? Or an early preview of the Hines and Muller signings?

    1. Working on that now. Looks like DU is turning the bottom of the roster. The big question – did DU add a third reliable scorer/starter?

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