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Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Air Force search to be ‘wide-open’

April 7, 2007

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— Unlike so many of his contemporaries across the Mountain West who hired new basketball coaches over the past month, Air Force athletic director Hans Meuh is looking for somebody to sustain a successful program, not rebuild a tattered one.

The Falcons have averaged 22 wins over the last four seasons but find themselves without a leader for the fourth time in five years following Jeff Bzdelik's departure Wednesday to coach at the University of Colorado.

Meuh said "the field is wide-open," and he hopes to hire a new coach within two weeks. He said Bzdelik's former assistants, who are under contract until month's end, are free to apply.

He also said he doesn't think there will be any dearth of marquee candidates for a program that has established itself as a national power under Joe Scott, Chris Mooney and Bzdelik, who went 50-16 in two seasons at the academy.

He said his e-mail was already full and his fax machine "smokin'" in the hours after Bzdelik bolted to Boulder for a package worth nearly $4 million over five years.

"We are on the national map," Meuh said. "This program can be sustained and there are people out there who know that. We'll get this done."

Air Force is the fifth of nine Mountain West schools to change coaches since the season ended last month.

New Mexico fired Ritchie McKay and hired Steve Alford, Utah replaced Ray Giacoletti with Jim Boylen, Colorado State replaced Dale Layer with Tim Miles, and Wyoming fired Steve McClain and hired Heath Schroyer.

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