Air Force Falcons

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Air Force Falcons
Logo
University United States Air Force Academy
Conference Mountain West Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Jim Knowlton
Location Colorado Springs, Colorado
Varsity teams 29 (including 2 non-NCAA)
Football stadium Falcon Stadium
Arena Clune Arena
Baseball stadium Falcon Baseball Field
Other arenas Cadet Fieldhouse
Cadet East Gym
Mascot Mach 1
Nickname Falcons
Fight song "Falcon Fight Song"
(unofficial: "The U.S. Air Force")
Colors Blue and Silver[1]
         
Website goairforcefalcons.com

The Air Force Falcons are the athletic teams that represent the United States Air Force Academy. 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 current athletic director is Jim Knowlton. The majority of the Falcons teams compete as members of the Mountain West Conference.

Team name origin[edit]

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.

Teams sponsored[edit]

Air Force is a member of the Mountain West Conference
Men's sports Women's sports
Baseball Basketball
Basketball Cross country
Boxing Gymnastics
Cross country Soccer
Football Swimming & diving
Golf Tennis
Gymnastics Track & Field
Ice hockey Volleyball
Lacrosse
Soccer
Swimming & diving
Tennis
Track & Field
Water polo
Wrestling
Co-ed sports
Fencing – Rifle
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.

As a primary member of the Mountain West Conference, the United States Air Force Academy sponsors teams in fifteen men's, nine women's, and two coed NCAA sanctioned sports. As of 2017, the fencing program competes as an independent, rifle program in the Patriot Rifle Conference, gymnastics programs in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, ice hockey in the Atlantic Hockey, lacrosse program in the Southern Conference, men's soccer and swimming & diving programs in the Western Athletic Conference, water polo in the Western Water Polo Association, and wrestling in the Big 12 Conference. Boxing is a member of the National Collegiate Boxing Association as the NCAA does not recognize bowling.

Baseball[edit]

KJ Randhawa dives for a hard-hit ground ball

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 baseball program plays home games at Falcon Baseball Field on campus.[2]

Basketball[edit]

Men's basketball[edit]

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.

Women's basketball[edit]

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.

Boxing[edit]

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.

Fencing[edit]

See: List of NCAA fencing schools

Football[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]

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.

Lacrosse[edit]

Air Force has fielded a NCAA men's lacrosse team since 1967.[3] They appeared in the Division I Championship tournament in 1977, 1988, 2014, 2016, and 2017. The team competes in the Southern Conference as an associate member.

Rifle[edit]

In June, 2013, Air Force became a charter member of the Patriot Rifle Conference.

Wrestling[edit]

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[edit]

Rugby[edit]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] Air Force also played in the 2013 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, reaching the quarterfinals.[7]

History[edit]

Athletic Directors[edit]

Here's a list of previous Athletic directors:[8]

  • 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

Facilities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "AF Branding & Trademark Licensing > About Us > The Air Force Symbol > Display Guidelines". Retrieved February 7, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Facilities". Air Force Academy Official Athletic Site. 2014. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "2017 LAX Media Guide" (PDF). Air Force Academy. 
  4. ^ "College conferences". USA Rugby. 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  5. ^ College rugby
  6. ^ "Air Force Flies at Rocky Mountain 7s". Rugby Mag. October 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Men's 7s Final Brackets, Standings, Scores". Rugby Mag. November 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.usafa.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120118-030.pdf, OUR ACADEMY HERITAGE
  9. ^ See Mountain West Conference#Conference facilities.
  10. ^ Armer, David (March 25, 2008). "Cadet Lacrosse Stadium in Colorado Springs". defenseimagery.mil. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Wrestling". Air Force Academy Official Athletic Site. 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]