by Ralph Routon
Head coach Troy Calhoun called a meeting Thursday afternoon of his Air Force Academy football team, amid rumors he might be leaving the Falcons to take the vacant job at the University of Tennessee.
But instead, Calhoun had good news: He's not leaving, and instead the AFA athletic department put out a news release saying Calhoun definitely would be coaching Air Force for a fourth season in 2010.
Nobody was saying, here or in Tennessee, whether Calhoun was offered the UT position, which abruptly came open this week when Lane Kiffin left after just one season for Southern Cal.
But Calhoun had other reasons for not wanting to leave Air Force, especially now. Anyone who knows Calhoun realizes how deeply committed he is toward the cadet-athletes he and his staff have recruited. And it's hard to imagine the 1989 AFA graduate leaving the Falcons before guiding a single class through the Academy, start to finish.
That will happen in 2010, as Calhoun and staff lead their first 2007 recruits into their senior year coming off the impressive Armed Services Bowl win over Houston. And though that's not the largest senior class Air Force has had, it does include fullback Jared Tew, cornerback Reggie Rembert, linebackers Andre Morris Jr. and Ken Lamendola, wide receiver Kevin Fogler and defensive lineman Rick Ricketts. Also, the Falcons do bring back a strong batch of rising juniors and sophomores led by quarterback Tim Jefferson, tailback Asher Clark and receiver Jonathan Warzeka.
Calhoun has a cumulative 25-14 record at Air Force, with his first three teams playing in bowl games.
Later Thursday, fresh rumors surfaced that Tennessee might hire David Cutcliffe, now the Duke head coach but formerly the Volunteers' offensive coordinator who developed Peyton Manning there before later tutoring Eli Manning as head coach at Mississippi.