Just when it started to seem like we wouldn’t get any sports news for a long time, Air Force has given us something to get excited about. On the morning of March 31, Air Force announced that Joe Scott would be taking over as the head coach for the Air Force men’s basketball team.
It is abundantly clear that Nathan Pine was looking for a coach with experience in building programs and working under difficult recruiting constraints. With Joe Scott, the team will really be getting a ‘best of all worlds’ kind of coach.
Coach Scott played college basketball and graduated from Princeton University. Following his undergraduate career, Joe Scott went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Notre Dame, and he worked as a personal injury attorney. After a few years, he returned to basketball and began coaching as an assistant at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ. He moved on to his alma mater, Princeton, then came to Air Force for his first stint as a head coach from 2000-2004. He took Air Force from a 8-20 season in 2000 to a 22-7 record in 2004 and an NCAA Tournament appearance.
He held two more head coaching positions at Princeton and Denver following his time at Air Force, and most recently, he was an assistant coach at Georgia from 2018-2020 with Tom Crean as the head coach.
There are a few similarities between Air Force’s women’s coach, Chris Gobrecht, and Coach Scott. They both have experience in the Ivy League, which has constraints in terms of recruiting that are not unlike the difficulties seen at service academies. He’s built up programs in short time frames and he has previous ties to Air Force.
All in all, this is a brilliant hire. Coach Scott did a phenomenal job with Air Force in his first run as the head coach, and I would think that he has built on his experiences and will be even stronger this go around. Not to mention all of the changes that have occurred at Air Force in terms of making the athletic department more professional, and less military-driven, I think Joe Scott will have more of the tools he needs to recruit and turn Air Force basketball around.
I’ll go out on a limb and say this is the biggest hire Air Force athletics has had in well over a decade. Air Force loves giving tenure to coaches, and understandably so, but this was a bold move by Nathan Pine which I believe will pay off and bring Air Force men’s basketball to the forefront of Falcon athletics within the next three to five years. While the outlook of sports are uncertain at this time, this is some exciting news that really makes us look forward to what will come.