Only twice before – when Tim DeRuyter’s Fresno State teams met the Falcons – have Air Force grads faced off as opposing head coaches.
This will be the third, as VMI is led by third-year coach Scott Wachenheim (a 1984 Air Force graduate) and Air Force is led for the 11th year by Troy Calhoun (a 1989 academy grad).
Wachenheim was a four-year starter on the offensive line for Air Force and earned All-WAC and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior when the 1983 squad went 10-2.
He returned in 1984 as a graduate assistant, running the offensive for the junior varsity.
Calhoun arrived as a freshman in 1985, so the two did not overlap. Calhoun, however, said he knows Wachenheim.
After serving his time on active duty, Wachenheim joined former Air Force coach Ken Hatfield at Arkansas in 1989 and later served as Hatfield’s offensive coordinator at Rice.
Calhoun said he sees no traces of the option-based offense Hatfield ran at Air Force when Fisher DeBerry was his offensive coordinator. The Keydets primarily run a one-back offense, throwing screen passes, flares to running backs and are always looking to create one-on-one matchups for their playmakers.
Wachenheim was also an assistant at Colorado under Bill McCartney for one year, spent three seasons at Liberty, five at Virginia and was the tight ends coach for the Washington Redskins in 2009.
There are no Air Force graduates among Wachenheim’s assistants at VMI.