During his meeting with press Tuesday, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun noted Wyoming’s “gigantic investment in the sport of football.”
He noted “big ol’ new building, coaches’ salaries and staffing support,” making Saturday’s game “one heck of a challenge.”
This has been a common refrain from Calhoun, mentioning investments other programs have made in the sport. So, The Gazette’s Brent Briggeman asked Calhoun if there is a reason he brings this up so frequently.
THE GAZETTE: You have mentioned several times over the past few years the commitment teams have made to football, or to “ball” sports. What kind of commitment would you like to see Air Force make to stay parallel to those schools?
CALHOUN: We’re a day-by-day group. Our coaches and our players, we do everything we can to make the most of today. I just think that’s where your focus and your energy can be the most useful. That’s where we’re going to put our attention.
THE GAZETTE: Are there disadvantages that have widened in recent years as some of these schools have made the commitment you’ve talked about?
CALHOUN: Again, we’re going to look at film. We’re going to look at cut-ups. How well we play a block today. How well we come off the football. How strong we are handling the football, that’s what we’re going to do today. Now, if you asked me a general question, if you said, ‘Hey, in 1999, when the first checks came out from the BCS distribution, were there some things that changed?’ In 2005 and then 2012, where TV contracts worked a little bit differently for some schools, did some things change? I do think what you can do is become a little bit enamored with Learfield Cup standings, that are great indicators of certain activities, but I think you have to be … that’s where it’s imperative. Just leadership-wise, you have somebody that truly understands the dynamics involved with each sport. That’s where it helps having somebody where their craft, or their trade, the quality of communication that you can have with your chain of command; their background has been almost solely in intercollegiate athletics. I think that’s crucial for the United States Air Force Academy, that that conversation occurs. If someone had a heck of a career here as a shortstop, as a player, as a cadet, yet has been involved in other things for 25 years — or maybe they spent one year here or three years here — just there’s a communication gap when it comes to being able to share with them, hey, here are the items that are really relevant in our sport. Even if they played our sport, there’s a disconnect sometimes. But for us, we are focused on today, as we should be.
THE GAZETTE: With the athletic director job being opened and advertised, will you be part of a committee or will you have any input on the process?
CALHOUN: That’s not for us. Again. We’re going to focus on football and what we need to do to give our guys every bit of the best chance they possibly can, and we’re going to do that. If we are asked, I think it’s pretty obvious just general criteria — he or she needs to be somebody who’s already been an athletic director. I think that’s crucial. And at the FBS level. You get somebody who comes in here just because they’ve been at a strong academic school, it’s going to be a different language. Or somebody who was highly distinguished in missiles or flying F-16s or great, great servants to the country, to come in here, even if you’re a football player, I think you just aren’t … it’s apples and oranges when there’s any kind of dialogue. The only thing you have to go off is your autobiography when you played here 25 years ago, rather than the forward and the progressive and the strategic communication that has to occur. But wherever that is in the process, we’ll see whatever happens.
BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE