Given the physical restrictions that military service puts on cadets, Air Force football has traditionally been based more on speed, willpower and technical execution than on pure size and strength. The Falcons have traditionally run a triple option offense, and have routinely competed favorably against bigger and stronger national opponents. While the wishbone is almost always assumed synonymous with the triple option, Air Force only deployed the formation occasionally under Coaches Fisher DeBerry and Ken Hatfield. One mainstay from both of these coaches is the option, and the consistent repetition to near perfection, as witnessed by the wins and the rushing statistics in the past 25 years, regularly placing Air Force in the top ten rushing teams in the nation.citation needed
Running back Asher Clark and the Falcons take on the Houston Cougars during the 2009 Armed Forces Bowl
The Falcons are not only recognized by the lightning bolt on the side of their helmets, but their traditional option attack. Air Force is one of the premier rushing teams in the nation. Since Fisher DeBerry took over as Falcons head coach in 1984, they have ranked among the nation’s top 10 in rushing 19 times in 21 years. The Air Force football team has enjoyed success not only on the field but also in the classroom. In 49 years of Air Force football, there have been 39 Academic All-Americans.
1985 was the most successful season in Air Force football history. Under 2nd year coach Fisher DeBerry, the Fightin’ Falcons came within one win of playing for the national championship. They recorded 10 straight wins, climbed the polls to #2 in the nation, but lost to BYU by 7 points in the penultimate game of the season. Air Force rebounded with a bowl game win over Texas in the Bluebonnet Bowl and finished with a 12-1 record as the #5 ranked team in the nation.
Since 1980, the Falcons and the Colorado State Rams have competed for the Ram-Falcon Trophy. Air Force currently holds a 16-13 advantage over Colorado State in games that the trophy has been contested in.
Chance Harridge: In 2002, Harridge set the NCAA Division I record for most single-season rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with 23. Tied by the University of Florida's Tim Tebow in 2007. Broken by Navy's Ricky Dobbs in 2009 with 27.
Beau Morgan: He became the first player in NCAA history to rush and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season twice. He broke the NCAA single season rushing record for a quarterback, along with being only the second player in NCAA history to run and pass for 3,000 yards in a career.
The Bullard Award: Falcon Football’s Highest Honor
The Bullard Award is voted on by the team based on the criteria that typifies Brian Bullard – unselfishness, 110 percent effort, total team commitment and pride in his role on the team whether he’s a starter or not.
1984 – Steve Kelly
1985 – Pat Malackowski
1986 – Pat Evans & Jason Webster
1987 – Rip Burgwald
1988 – Anthony Roberson
1989 – Lance McDowell
1990 – Bill Price
1991 – Kette Dornbush
1992 – Grant Johnson
1993 – Will McCombs
1994 – Steve Russ
1995 – Brandon Wilkerson
1996 – Lee Guthrie
1997 – Chris Gizzi
1998 – Mike Tyler
1999 – Charlie Jackson
2000 – Mike Gallagher, Matt Dayoc, Nate Beard
2001 – Zach Johnson
2002 – Tom Heir
2003 – Joe Schieffer, Monty Coleman
2004 – John Rudzinski
2005 – Denny Poland
2006 - Gilberto Perez
2007 - Drew Fowler, Garrett Rybak
2008 - Shea Smith
2009 - Ben Garland
2010 - Nate Walker
Little America (3rd)
Playboy Magazine All-American
Associated Press (3rd)
Central Press (2nd)
Associated Press (2nd), Gridiron (2nd)
Associated Press (3rd)
UPI (2nd), Football News (2nd)
Associated Press (2nd)
Associated Press (2nd)
Football News (2nd)
Sporting News (2nd)
Scripps Howard, Associated Press (2nd)
Walter Camp, Kodak, Football Writes, Associated Press (2nd)
Kodak, Football News (2nd), Associated Press (3rd)
Air Force Academy Falcons free safety Bobby Giannini (#11) prepares to finish off Tennessee tailback Montario Hardesty, while Falcons defensive end Josh Clayton (#97) loosens Hardesty's grip on the football. The Falcons lost 31-30 in 2006.
Current coaching staff
Troy Calhoun - Head Coach
Ron Burton - NFL Liaison/Defensive Line
Clay Hendrix - Assoc. Head Coach/Off. Coordinator/Off. Line
Matt McGettigan - Strength/Conditioning
Blane Morgan - Offensive Coordinator/QBs
Steve Russ - Assist. Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coord./Secondary
Mike Thiessen - Asst.Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
Air Force has a traditional rivalry against the other two FBS service academies, Army and Navy; the three play for the right to hold the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Air Force has held the trophy 18 times, more than either Army or Navy. Among other schools, Air Force has played more games against Colorado State and Wyoming, having played each school 52 times since 1957, the Falcon's first season.
Top 10 rivals
Below are Air Force's record against its top ten most-played opponents.6