Air Force Falcons
|Air Force Falcons|
|University||United States Air Force Academy|
|Conference||Mountain West Conference
Big 12 Conference
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation
Patriot Rifle Conference
National Collegiate Boxing Association
|Athletic director||Jim Knowlton|
|Location||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Varsity teams||29 (including 2 non-NCAA)|
|Football stadium||Falcon Stadium|
|Other arenas||Cadet Fieldhouse
Cadet East Gym
|Fight song||"Falcon Fight Song"
(unofficial: "The U.S. Air Force")
The Air Force Falcons are the collegiate athletic teams that represent the United States Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The intercollegiate program has 17 men's and 10 women's NCAA-sanctioned teams. Men’s teams are football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, cross-country, fencing, golf, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, lacrosse, rifle, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, water polo and wrestling. The Academy fields women's teams in basketball, cross-country, fencing, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, swimming and diving, soccer, tennis and volleyball. In addition, the Academy sponsors two non-NCAA programs: boxing and cheerleading.
The three major service academies (Air Force, Army, and Navy) compete for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, which is awarded to the academy that defeats the others in football that year (or retained by the previous winner in the event of a three-way tie).
- 1 Team name origin
- 2 Teams
- 3 History
- 4 Facilities
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Team name origin
The falcon mascot was selected by popular vote of the Academy's Class of 1959, the first class to graduate from the Academy. The team mascot is "Mach 1" name of the first falcon presented to the academy on Oct 5, 1955, however each performing falcon is given an individual name by its cadet falconer. The current mascot, a female white phase gyrfalcon named Aurora, has been the official mascot since 1996.
Men's Intercollegiate Sports
- ¶ = Boxing is sanctioned by the National Collegiate Boxing Association, not by the NCAA.
- ¿ = The ice hockey team is a member of Atlantic Hockey.
- † = The men's and women's gymnastics teams compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
- ∞ = The lacrosse team plays in the Southern Conference.
- # = The men's soccer and men's swimming and diving teams compete as affiliate members of the Western Athletic Conference.
- • = The water polo team is a member of the Western Water Polo Association
- ‡ = The wrestling team competes in the Big 12 Conference.
- ↓ = Fencing in the NCAA is a coed sport with men's and women's squads. The Air Force team competes as an independent.
- * = Rifle is technically a men's sport, but men's, women's, and coed teams all compete against each other; Air Force has a coed team that competes in the Patriot Rifle Conference.
Air Force enjoyed some success on the baseball diamond in its early years, earning six berths to the NCAA Division I playoffs (1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969). The Falcons, however, never advanced beyond the district/regional rounds. The closest they have come to earning a NCAA berth since 1969 was in 2000, when the Falcons lost to San Diego State in the MWC tournament championship game (which would have earned an automatic berth).
The men's basketball team has had strong showings in the last several years, qualifying for the NCAA tournament and, most recently, making the final four of the 2007 National Invitational Tournament. The best player in Air Force history (According to ESPN) is Bob Beckel, who scored 50 points in a game against Arizona in 1959 and scored over 45 points on 3 other occasions. The best Coach in Air Force history is Bob Spear, who coached for 15 years (1956–1971), had a Career record of 177-175, and led the Falcons to 2 NCAA Tournament Appearances.
- NCAA Tournament appearances: 1960, 1962, 2004, 2006
- NIT Tournament appearances: 2007 (semifinals)
- Mountain West Conference champions: 2004 Regular Season
The women's basketball team competed at the Division II level in both the AIAW and NCAA from 1976-1996. Since then, the team has competed at the Division I level.
The Air Force boxing team has had astonishing success. Led for 31 years by Coach Ed Weichers, the team has won 18 National Collegiate Boxing Association championships, and until 2009, had never finished lower than second in the nation. In 2009, the team finished third in the Nation.
From 2007-2009, the men's hockey team won three straight Atlantic Hockey conference tournaments, and made three straight appearances in the NCAA Division I hockey tournament. Their 2007 appearance in the NCAA tournament was the first ever by a service academy. In the East Regional of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, Air Force upset top seed Michigan 2-0, and just missed going to the Frozen Four in a 3-2 double overtime loss to Vermont.
In June, 2013, Air Force became a charter member of the Patriot Rifle Conference.
The Falcon wrestling team began competition in 1957 and currently competes in the Big 12 Conference (the Mountain West doesn't sponsor wrestling). From 2006 to 2015, the Falcons had been a member of the Western Wrestling Conference (WWC), but the conference chose to disband after the 2014–15 school year when all of its members accepted an offer of single-sport membership in the Big 12. Home wrestling events are held at either the Cadet East Gym or at Clune Arena. The team is currently coached by former Olympian Joel Sharratt in his eighth season, and former national champion for the University of Iowa, under the tutelage of legendary coach Dan Gable.
Falcons Wrestling Accomplishments:
- WAC Team Championships: 1 (1991)
- All-Academy Wrestling Championships: 4 (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002)
- NCAA National Champions: 1
- NCAA All-Americans: 11
- WWC/West Regional Champions: 9
- WAC Champions: 18
- MIWA Champions: 18
Notable club sports
The Air Force rugby program was created in 1968 and began competing in college rugby in 1980. Air Force competes in the west division of the College Premier Division against rivals such as Colorado State and Wyoming. Air Force has been one of the most successful programs in college rugby. Air Force finished as one of the top 3 teams in the country 11 times from 1980-1995, including back-to-back national championships in 1989 and 1990. More recently, Air Force were national champions again in 2003 and third place in 2004. Several Air Force players have gone on to play for the US men's national rugby team. Air Force won the 2012 Rocky Mountain 7s tournament to qualify for the 2012 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships. Air Force also played in the 2013 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, reaching the quarterfinals.
- Col Robert V. Whitlow, 1954-1957
- Col George B. Simler, 1957-1960
- Col Maurice L. Martin, 1960-1963
- Col Edmund A. Rafalko, 1963-1967
- Col Francis E. Merritt, 1967-1975
- Col John Clune, 1975-1991
- Col Ken Schweitzer, 1991-1996
- Col Randall Randy Spetman, 1996-2004
- Dr. Hans Mueh, 2004-2015
- Jim Knowlton, 2015–present
- Cadet Fieldhouse
- Cadet Ice Arena (cap. 2,502) – part of the Cadet Fieldhouse
- Clune Arena (cap. 5,939) – part of the Cadet Fieldhouse
- Eisenhower Golf course
- Falcon Baseball Field (cap. 1,000)
- Falcon Stadium (cap. 52,480)
- Jacks Valley
- Soccer stadium
- Cadet Lacrosse Stadium
- "Air Force Falcons". Air Force Academy Official Athletic Site. 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Falcons to join SoCon in lacrosse in 2016" (Press release). Air Force Academy Athletics. October 13, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
- "Facilities". Air Force Academy Official Athletic Site. 2014. Archived from the original on December 27, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "College conferences". USA Rugby. 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- College rugby
- "Air Force Flies at Rocky Mountain 7s". Rugby Mag. October 21, 2012.
- "Men's 7s Final Brackets, Standings, Scores". Rugby Mag. November 25, 2013.
- http://www.usafa.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120118-030.pdf, OUR ACADEMY HERITAGE
- See Mountain West Conference#Conference facilities.
- Armer, David (March 25, 2008). "Cadet Lacrosse Stadium in Colorado Springs". defenseimagery.mil. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
- "Wrestling". Air Force Academy Official Athletic Site. 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.