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Mr. Pink
05-18-2005, 03:18 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/columns/story?columnist=katz_andy&id=2063074

Bzdelik will run Princeton offense at AFABy Andy Katz
ESPN.com


Air Force hired former Denver Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik as its next men's basketball coach on Wednesday.

A news conference will be held Monday in Colorado Springs.

"We're very excited about having Jeff lead the men's basketball team here at the Academy," Air Force athletic director Dr. Hans Mueh said in a release. "What a great fit for us! He brings a wealth of experience at the highest levels of basketball and has a proven record. His teams have always played like successful Air Force teams do, hard, aggressive and with passion. Jeff is also committed to academics and has an understanding of the military and what our mission at the Academy is about. He'll be a great leader for our young people."

Sources close to the deal said Bzdelik will continue to run the Princeton system, a scheme that was successful for the Falcons under Joe Scott and Chris Mooney, who left in successive seasons (Scott for Princeton after 2003-04 and Mooney for Richmond after this past season).

Scott led Air Force to a Mountain West championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004. The Falcons followed up that landmark season with 18 wins this past year under Mooney, but did not get a postseason bid.

Bzdelik, 52, offered the Falcons some stability. He was a regular at Air Force practices after he was fired by the Nuggets this past season. The Falcons wanted someone to run the Princeton offense but decided against someone in the Princeton family.

In Denver, Bzdelik engineered a dramatic turnaround. After winning only 17 games in Bzdelik's first season in 2002-03, Denver improved to 43 wins in 2003-04 and earned its first playoff berth since 1995. The improvement was the sixth-largest one-season change in NBA history.

Bzdelik was fired earlier this season after Denver struggled to a 13-15 start. He was replaced by George Karl, who led Denver to the playoffs, where the Nuggets fell to the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the opening round.