Air Force’s new athletic director has shown little hesitancy to make coaching changes.
At Holy Cross, Nathan Pine fired a 14-year football coach in the middle of the season in 2017. He parted with a men’s basketball coach after the 2015 season.
And last year he released a lacrosse coach after an uproar when the coach had his players run wind sprints at halftime of a game.
“I don’t feel we’re heading in the right direction and I know we’re going to need a leadership change in order to get that turned around,” Pine said on Oct. 15, 2017, when he fired Holy Cross football coach Tom Gilmore with four games remaining after a 2-5 start.
It was Pine who delivered news of Gilmore’s firing to the players, according to The Telegram in Worcester, Mass.
The decision came in the aftermath of a shutout loss to Yale that dropped Gilmore’s record to 72-81.
Pine fired basketball coach Milan Brown after five years following a 14-16 season. Brown was 69-83 for the Crusaders, including a 42-43 mark in conference games.
“I am disappointed that we must make this change,” Pine said at the time, “but the success of our men’s basketball program has not been commensurate with our competitive expectations under Coach Brown’s leadership.”
At Air Force, coaches have generally received a generous amount of patience.
The football program has made just one coaching change since 1984. Women’s basketball coach Andrea Williams was given five years despite going 22-108. Baseball coach Mike Hutcheon was given seven seasons despite never winning more than four Mountain West games in a season.
Current basketball coach Dave Pilipovich is in his seventh full season despite five straight seasons of failing to finish higher than ninth in the 11-team conference.
Some of this is a product athletic directors understanding the challenges facing coaches at the academy.
The rest came from a willingness to give the benefit of the doubt.
Pine has shown a different approach.
But Pine also has not made changes for changes’ sake.
The Holy Cross women’s basketball coach is a 32-year veteran of the program with a winning percentage over .600.