Joe Scott returns to coach Air Force after 16 seasons

Air Force is bringing back Joe Scott as head basketball coach, the Academy announced Tuesday. Scott coached Air Force from 2000 to 2004, leading the Falcons to their first NCAA berth in 42 years and a top 25 ranking in his final season.

"Joe is a person of strong character and a leader who will continue to represent our core values at Air Force," athletic director Nathan Pine said. "He is also a championship-caliber coach who understands the Academy, what we stand for, and he knows as well as anyone how to be successful here. Coach Scott is a gifted teacher with a passion for the sport of basketball and developing young men into leaders. He is the perfect person to re-energize our men's basketball program."

Air Force parted ways with coach Dave Pilipovich earlier this month, after the Falcons finished 12-20 and lost in the Mountain West quarterfinals to San Diego State.

Scott, 54, left Air Force after the 2003-04 season, when he led the Falcons to a 22-7 record and an NCAA tournament berth. He became head coach at Princeton and spent three seasons there, leaving after a disastrous 2006-07 season, when the Tigers were 2-12 in the Ivy League. He then took over at Denver, where he was head coach for 10 seasons.

Scott has a 235-240 career record in 16 seasons as a head coach.

He was most recently an assistant coach at Georgia.

"My wife, Leah, our two sons, Ben and Jack, and I are extremely grateful and excited to be returning. The Academy is a special place and we loved our time here," Scott said.

"We will recruit players that fit the core values and ideals of the Academy and will help develop them into leaders of character on and off the court. We will help them strive to excel in every aspect of the Academy: academics, military training and athletics," Scott said.