Air Force signs Pilipovich to three-year extension

Air Force Director of Athletics Nathan Pine announced today that men's basketball coach Dave Pilipovich has agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2022-23 season. Pilipovich has one year remaining on his current deal. 

"Coach Pilipovich is a talented coach and he embraces the mission of the Academy and his players exhibit that in the way they play and how they excel on and off the court," Pine said. "The program made important progress competitively this last season and I believe with the talent we have on the team and under Coach's leadership we will see even greater success in the future. I look forward to working with Coach Pilipovich to continue to improve our program on all fronts."

Pilipovich has served as head coach for seven full seasons at Air Force and enters the 2019-20 campaign with a 98-131 career record. In the recently completed 2018-19 season, Pilipovich led the Falcons to a 14-18 campaign and a sixth place finish in the Mountain West.  Air Force's had its best season in Mountain West play in six years, finishing with an 8-10 record.  After an 0-3 start to conference play, Pilipovich rallied the Falcons to an 8-7 mark the rest of the way, which included their first road win at Fresno State in 24 years and series sweeps of San Jose State and Wyoming.  Air Force graduates just one senior off the 2018-19 team and returns 94 percent of its team's scoring.

"I would like to thank our cadet athletes and coaching staff for their hard work, dedication, and commitment that has helped grow our program in the Mountain West Conference," Pilipovich said.  "Thank you to Academy Superintendent Gen. Jay Silveria and Director of Athletics Nathan Pine for their leadership, vision, and commitment to our program.  I would also like to thank our great Falcon fans for their incredible support this season.  I am extremely excited about the future of Air Force basketball."

Pilipovich became the eighth head coach in the history of the program on February 8, 2012. He was in his fifth season as a member of the coaching staff and first as associate head coach when he was promoted to head coach. Pilipovich completed the rest of the 2011-12 season. This season marked his 12th overall at the Academy.

After taking over the program, Pilipovich won two of his first three games as head coach, including a come-from-behind 58-53 win at Wyoming in his first road game. He then led his team to one of the biggest victories in program history with a 58-56 triumph over 13th-ranked San Diego State at Clune Arena, marking Air Force's first-ever win over a Top 20 team.

In 2012-13, his first full season as head coach, Pilipovich led the Falcons to an 18-14 overall record, tying the fourth-most wins in one season in program history. He also became the first Air Force head coach to beat two ranked teams in the same season and owns three of AFA's four wins against ranked opponents, including an 89-88 regular-season finale victory over No. 12 New Mexico, the highest ranked opponent ever defeated by Air Force. He also coached Air Force to its first-ever postseason road win with a 69-65 victory at Hawai'i in the first round of the Tournament.

In 2013-14, the Falcons posted a 12-18 record and defeated UNLV in Las Vegas for just the second time in program history. Air Force's 6-12 Mountain West record marked just the ninth time with at least six league wins since joining a conference in 1981 and AFA's three league wins on the road were the most in one season since 2008.

Pilipovich led the Falcons to a 14-17 record in 2014-15, despite losing senior captain Kamryn Williams to injury at the start of the conference season and leading scorer Max Yon leaving the team for part of the season for personal reasons. The Falcons still managed to finish ninth in the conference with a 6-12 mark. Air Force's 14 wins overall tie as the 12th most in school history while the six conference wins ties for seventh all-time. The season marked Air Force's third straight with six or more conference wins which is the longest streak in school history. The Falcons won a conference tournament game, beating New Mexico in the opening round, for just the third time. Air Force also posted one of its biggest conference home wins ever, beating Wyoming by 23 points to record the biggest conference home win since 2007.

Air Force was 14-18 in 2015-16. The 14 wins ties as the 12th most in school history. The Falcons won the Air Force Classic with a perfect 4-0 mark.

The Falcons were 12-21 in 2016-17. Air Force beat Wyoming in the opening round of the Mountain West tournament to record the program fourth win in the event overall and second by Pilipovich. Air Force opened the game with a Mountain West record 25-0 run. The Falcons opened the season with a program-best 5-0 record.

Air Force went 12-19 in 2017-18.  The Falcons were 4-5 in conference play over the second half of the season with victories over third-place New Mexico and tournament semifinalist Utah State.  The New Mexico win was record-setting, as the Falcons out-lasted the Lobos, 100-90. Air Force set a record for most points in a conference game.

Pilipovich's tenure at the Academy is already one of the most successful. He is one of two coaches in school history to post multiple conference home winning records in a season, accomplishing it in 2013 and the last two seasons. He has led the program to five six-win conference seasons--three from 2013-15 and two from the previous two seasons--the most of any Air Force coach. Only two others have accomplished two seasons with six or more wins.

In his nearly five seasons as an assistant coach, Pilipovich helped the Falcons earn their first trip to the postseason since 2007 with an appearance in the Tournament following the 2010 campaign and snap a 16-game losing streak in conference tournament play in 2009. In his first season at Air Force (2007-08), the Falcons finished fifth in the Mountain West Conference after being picked eighth in the preseason media and coaches poll, the greatest margin between predicted and actual finish in the league that season. He also helped Tim Anderson earn the conference's Defensive Player of the Year award that campaign.

Prior to joining the Falcons, Pilipovich spent two years with the University of Michigan basketball program. In his first season with the Wolverines, he served as the administrative assistant to head coach Tommy Amaker and helped the Wolverines to the two NIT appearances, including an NIT final, then was an assistant coach during the 2006-07 campaign.

Pilipovich has 29 years of coaching experience under his belt. He served as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University for five years (2000-05) prior to joining the Michigan staff. Before his stint at EMU, he served four years as an assistant coach at Robert Morris University (1996-2000), two years an assistant coach at Georgia State University (1994-96) and two years as the assistant head coach at Florida Atlantic University (1989-91) before being named associate head coach the following four years (1991-94).

Pilipovich began his coaching career serving as a graduate assistant at California University (Pa.) for two years (1986-88), before being named as an assistant coach for one season.

A 1986 graduate of Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., with a degree in business administration, Pilipovich earned four varsity basketball letters and served as team captain during his senior season. He earned his master's degree from California (Pa.) in 1988 in geography and regional planning. He is an active member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and is currently on the NABC Coaches vs. Cancer Board.  Pilipovich is also a USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll voter and the Chair of the Mountain West Coaches. 

Pilipovich and his wife, Kelly, have a son, Kyle, and a daughter, Kelsey.  Kelly is active in the community as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society Road to Recovery Program.

Air Force athletics

April 12, 2019

Men's Basketball