Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun’s exploration of the job opening at Colorado did not impact his compensation or contract length with the Falcons.
Calhoun’s new six-year contract that keeps him with the Falcons through the 2025 season was signed Feb. 3, more than a week before Mel Tucker’s unexpected departure from the Buffaloes opened speculation Calhoun could move north. That was eventually muted by the hiring of Karl Dorrell over this past weekend.
Air Force athletic director Nathan Pine said Calhoun gave contractually required notice that he intended to talk with Colorado — the first on-the-record confirmation of the widely reported rumor — but that had no impact on the contract that already been quietly finalized.
“We have not made adjustments to the contract that we signed on Feb. 3,” Pine said. “We made increased commitments on both sides early on and wanted to get out ahead of this.”
Pine had announced in January that Calhoun and Air Force were nearing agreement on a new deal. The deal’s completion wasn’t made public to prevent stealing the spotlight from other major events at the academy in the month, including an NHL hockey game at Falcon Stadium.
Details of the contract were not released, as the financials of Air Force athletics are now largely handled by a nonprofit 501(C)3 that can shield records that previously would have been made public.
“With an increased investment came an increased buyout,” Pine said. “I’ll leave it just that simple. At the end of the day, we handle our contracts the way we do for a reason.”
Pine said Calhoun’s first priority was increasing the pool of pay for assistant coaches, and that was accomplished. The athletic director said the agreed-upon package was “competitive” with conference and peer schools.
“We have a remarkable group,” Calhoun said of his staff. “Anytime we can reward those guys, they earn it. Not just for what happens on the field, but they are just amazing representatives of the United States Air Force Academy.”
Four football assistants have left the program during the offseason, but Pine said that’s part of operating outside of a Power Five conference and having success with an 11-2 season and No. 22 national ranking. One of those coaches retired, two left for Power Five jobs and another went to the NFL.
“At the end of the day we’re not going to outspend all of those folks and we can’t possibly try,” Pine said. “We understand who we are, and we try to maximize the investment that we can make to take care of our folks.
“You look at the opportunities they’ve left the academy for, they’ve all had a chance to further their career and make good moves and we’ve got to be good partners in that, too. We want them to be successful, so you have to root for your people to take those opportunities and go on to do great things. That’s part of it. But sure, selfishly, you’d like to keep your exact staff intact every year, but that’s just not the reality in which college athletics works in 2020.”
Calhoun said “time will tell” if the new assistant pay could deter future departures, but offered no comment on his contract extension.
“We just work day-by-day,” said Calhoun, who has a 98-69 record and 10 bowl appearances with Air Force since taking over in 2007. “We work with high-quality young men that are exceptionally well-raised.”