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 Air Force Falcons Men's Basketball Coaching Corner

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 Dave Pilipovich - Air Force Falcons Head Coach

     

Dave Pilipovich (pronounced pill-ih-POE-vitch) 

Dave Pilipovich became the eighth head coach in the history of the Air Force men's basketball program on February 8, 2012 and was named permanent head coach on March 3. Pilipovich 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 after Jeff Reynolds was relieved of his duties.

After taking over the program, Pilipovich won two of his first three games as head coach, including a 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 and just the second against a ranked opponent.

In his nearly five seasons as an assistant coach, Pilipovich helped the Falcons snap a 16-game losing streak in conference tournament play in 2009 and earn AFA's first trip to the postseason since 2007 with an appearance in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament following the 2010 campaign. 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, then was an assistant coach during the 2006-07 campaign.

Pilipovich has 25 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 (1988-89).

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 continues to serve on the NABC Assistant Coaches Committee.

Pilipovich and his wife, Kelly, have a son, Kyle (20), and a daughter, Kelsey (17).

Assistant Coaches

snellphoto.jpeg Kurt Kanaskie - Assistant Coach

Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich announced today that Kurt Kanaskie has been hired as an assistant men's basketball coach. Kanaskie replaces Steve Snell, who left to take a similar position at Santa Clara.

Kanaskie comes to the Academy from Jacksonville University where he was an assistant coach. A coaching veteran, Kanaskie has been at the helm of three programs and worked in power conferences for much of the past decade.

Kanaskie served as the head coach at Drake for seven seasons (1996-2003) and was one of the most successful Division II head coaches in Pennsylvania history. "Kurt Kanaskie brings a wealth of experience to our staff. Having been a head coach for 18 years, he has sat in the head coach's chair. He is an outstanding all-around coach," Pilipovich said. "He's a very good recruiter; he is an excellent skill development coach and is extremely good on the floor as a teacher. He has developed great relationships with the players he has coached. He has performed this job at a high level and will be a great compliment to our staff. We are exited he is joining our Falcon family."

Following a stellar playing career at La Salle, Kanaskie began his career as an assistant coach at South Carolina for five seasons. His first head coaching job came at Division II Lock Haven, where he was in charge of the Bald Eagles for three seasons and was twice named the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference (PSAC) Coach of the Year. He inherited a Bald Eagle program that was 18-84 over the previous four seasons and in his first year set a school record for wins with 15. His LHU team reached the NCAA Tournament a year later and earned the school's first-ever national ranking. He was named PSAC Coach of the Year twice at LHU.

Moving within the conference, he then took over at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In eight seasons, Kanaskie was named the PSAC Coach of the Year two more times and twice named The Basketball Times National Coach of the Year. Kanaskie inherited an IUP program that had posted four straight losing seasons and, after a first year of building a solid foundation, posted seven straight winning records. In 1993, IUP made the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) semifinals for the first time in 16 years.

The next season (`94-'95), IUP grabbed its first national ranking in school history (No. 5), earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time ever and advanced to the Elite Eight. A year later (`95-'96), IUP earned a No. 1 national ranking and advanced to the national semifinals.

Moving up to Division I, Kanaskie was named the head coach at Drake, where he stayed for seven seasons until 2003. He then moved to Penn State, first as an assistant coach under Ed DeChellis and later as the associate head coach. In his years in State College, the Nittany Lions claimed three postseason berths and won the 2009 NIT Championship. Departing Penn State after the 2010-11 season, he spent one season as the associate head coach at Navy, and then moved on to become an assistant coach at Virginia Tech for the past two seasons.

Kanaskie earned his bachelor's degree from La Salle in 1980 and a master's in business administration from South Carolina in 1985. While at La Salle, he earned All-Big Five and All-East Coast Conference honors, was an academic All-American, and left as the school's ninth all-time leading scorer. The NBA's Golden State Warriors drafted him.

A native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Kanaski (born April 14, 1959) has three children, a daughter, Kristin Kanaskie Grotewold, and sons Kevin Kanaskie and Kyle Kanaskie.

Tyron Wright
   Tyron Wright - Assistant Coach

Tyron Wright rejoins the Falcon coaching staff for the 2012-13 season. Wright was an assistant coach for Air Force from 2006-09 and a graduate assistant coach for the Falcons during the 2000-01 campaign. Prior to rejoining the program this season, Wright worked in the Registrar's Office at the Academy and served as an assistant coach for the USAFA Prep School men's basketball team from 2009-12.

Wright, who earned his Bachelor's Degree in Human Factors Engineering in 2000 from the Academy, enjoyed a stellar basketball career with the Falcons. After spending his first two years with the junior varsity, he became a two-year starter for the varsity. He burst on the scene in 1999 as a junior to lead Air Force in scoring with an 18.2 average. His scoring average still ranks as the third-best in school history for a first-year player.

Wright ended that season as a second-team all-conference selection and was twice named conference player of the week. He earned his first player of the week honor after scoring a career-high 36 points and grabbing 11 rebounds vs. SMU. Wright shattered the school record for most points by a reserve with 31 in a win over Denver.

An all-around player, Wright finished second on the team in scoring, rebounding and assists as a senior, averaging 13.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Following the 2000-01 season, Wright was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he served as an ACE lieutenant for the 12th Communications Squadron. Upon the completion of his ACE tour in 2003, he joined the 509th Communications Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri as the Support Flight commander.

In Nov. 2004, he became the Network Systems Flight commander, then was hired as the Executive Officer to the commander of the 509th Maintenance Group in June of 2005. While assigned to the Maintenance Group, Wright was deployed to Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, where he served as the Executive Officer to the 386th Maintenance Group commander.

In 2003, `04 and `06, Wright was selected to represent the Air Force in the Armed Forces Basketball Tournament and was named all-tournament all three years. As a result of his performance in 2003, he was also chosen to represent the United States Military in international competition at the Military World Games held in Cantania, Italy.

Most recently, Wright was selected to coach the All-Air Force Team at the Armed Forces Tournament in April 2011. The team went undefeated and won the gold medal, which qualified Wright to coach the Armed Forces Team in international competition at the CISM World Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2011. The team tied for the best record at the tournament, and was one of five U.S. teams to medal with a third-place finish.

Wright, 34, and his wife Hassain are the proud parents of daughters, Jada (7) and Anaya (3).


Andy Moore  - Assistant Coach

Air Force men’s basketball coach Dave Pilipovich announced today that Andy Moore has joined the program as an assistant coach. Moore replaces Silvey Dominguez, who resigned  to become an assistant coach at Washington State.

Moore, 44, recently finished his second season on the men’s basketball staff at Virginia Tech. The 2013-14 season was his first as an assistant coach after spending the 2012-13 season as the Hokies’ director of basketball operations. He joined the Tech staff in June of 2012 following four years at Eastern Michigan University. Moore moved into game operations during the 2011-12 academic year after spending the three previous seasons as a full-time assistant coach at EMU. This was Moore’s second stint at EMU, as he served as the director of basketball operations from 2000-02.

“I am very excited that Andy has agreed to join our program,” said Pilipovich. “We coached together at Michigan and Eastern Michigan and he really impressed me with his knowledge of the game and interaction with student-athletes. I feel he is a perfect fit at Air Force.”

Moore spent the 2007-08 season as a men’s assistant basketball coach at Bowling Green State University and the previous five years as an assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Michigan. While with the Wolverines, he spent four years as an assistant coach and one season as the director of basketball operations. During his tenure in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines registered three 20-win seasons and had an overall record of 98-65 in those five seasons. Michigan won the postseason National Invitational Tournament (NIT) title in 2004 and advanced to that tournament’s championship game in 2006.

Before making the short move to Ann Arbor, Moore spent two years as the director of basketball operations at EMU. His resume also includes four years at California University of Pennsylvania, from 1996 until 2000. After serving as an assistant coach for his first three years, he was promoted to assistant head coach for the 1999-2000 season.


Moore began his coaching career at Mt. Vernon (Ohio) High School, where he was an assistant coach for the varsity boys’ team (1992-94). He then moved on to Kenyon (Ohio) College, where he served as an assistant men’s basketball coach and head men’s golf coach (1994-96).

He is a 1992 graduate of Muskingum College, where he was named first-team All-American and Ohio Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior in 1991-92. Moore was a three-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) selection and finished his career as the school’s all-time scoring leader. He was inducted into Muskingum’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

Moore and his wife, Stephanie, have two sons, Graham and Nolan.

 Nate Zandt - Assistant Coach

 

Nate Zandt is in his fifth season as the video coordinator for the men's and women's basketball programs at Air Force. Zandt came to the Academy from California University (Pa.), where he served as a graduate assistant coach for the men's basketball team in 2006-07.

Prior to his stint at California Univ., Zandt was the head team manager for the University of Michigan men's basketball team from 2001-2006. Originally from Constantine, Mich., he earned his bachelor's degree in general studies from Michigan in 2006 and his master's degree in sports management from California University in 2010.

Zandt gained coaching experience by working basketball camps at Michigan, Notre Dame and Bowling Green. He and his wife, Rebecca, are the proud parents of a son, Kaden (4), and a daughter, Elliott (2).

Evan Washington - Assistant Coach

Capt. Evan Washington enters his first season as an assistant basketball coach in 2015-16. Washington, a 2011 Academy graduate, is returning to the Academy after serving as an acquisitions office at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, from 2013-15. He served as a project officer in the Space and Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence (C3I) program office. In addition, he also served as a project manager for the F-22 program office. Washington began his Air Force and coaching career as an instructor and assistant basketball coach at the Air Force Prep School in 2012.

Washington, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was a four-year letterman at the Academy and finished his career ranked 36th in school history in scoring with 904 points, an average of 8.5 per game. He ranks second in school history in career games played at 124, just one shy of the school record. Washington is the school record holder for career games started with 112. He also served as the team’s captain as a senior.

Washington’s basketball career continued in the Air Force after graduation. He competed and won the gold medal in the All Armed Forces tournament with the All-Air Force team in 2012 and 2014. In 2014, he played and won a gold medal in the International SHAPE tournament in Mons, Belgium. In addition, he competed in the HQ INTERCOM tournament in RAF Lakenheath, England, and CISM military world games in Mungyeong, South Korea, in 2015.