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.