The University of New Mexico men’s basketball program has added a familiar face to its staff as Dave Pilipovich, former head coach of fellow Mountain West squad, Air Force, has been hired as the Lobos’ special assistant to the head coach, the program announced.
Pilipovich, who served as head coach at Air Force for eight seasons, spent a total of 13 seasons at the academy and amassed a record of 110-151 in his time at the helm of the Falcons.
“Dave can truly make us better from top to bottom,” head coach Paul Weir said. “I am incredibly fortunate that he elected to come here and support me and this program turning the corner and making it special once again.”
“Dave can truly make us better from top to bottom. I am incredibly fortunate that he elected to come here …”
-Head Coach Paul Weir
In his time at Air Force, Pilipovich led his team to one of the biggest victories in program history with a 58-56 triumph over 13th-ranked San Diego State at home, marking Air Force’s first-ever win over a Top-20 team at the time.
Pilipovich’s time at Air Force served as one of the most successful tenures in program history. He finished as one of two coaches in history to post multiple conference home winning records in a season, accomplishing it in 2012-13 and again in 2018-19. He led the program to more six-win conference seasons (four) than any other coach in program history with only two other coaches accomplishing two seasons with six or more wins.
In his nearly five seasons as an assistant coach with the Falcons, he helped the squad to its first postseason appearance since 2007 with an appearance in the ColleegInsider.com Tournament following the 2010 campaign.
Prior to joining the Falcons, Pilipovich spent two years with the University of Michigan basketball program. In his first season with the Wolverines, he served as the administrative assistant to head coach Tommy Amaker and helped the team to two NIT appearances, including an NIT final. He then served as assistant coach during the 2006-07 season.
Pilipovich has 30 years of coaching experience. Prior to his time at Michigan, he spent five years as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan (2000-05), four years as an assistant at Robert Morris (1996-2000), two years as an assistant at Georgia State (1994-96) and two years as an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic University (1989-91), before being named associate head coach the following four years (1991-94).
Pilipovich began his coaching career serving as a graduate assistant at California University (Pa.) for two years (1986-88) before being named as an assistant coach for one season.
A 1986 graduate of Thiel College in Greenville, Pa., with a degree in business administration, Pilipovich earned four varsity basketball letters and served as team captain during his senior season. He earned his master’s degree from California (Pa.) in 1988 in geography and regional planning.
“I am thrilled to be in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico and I want to thank Coach Weir for this opportunity,” Pilipovich said. “I am so appreciative for him and the UNM administration for allowing me to be a part of Lobo Basketball. I have admired his coaching from competing against him and I am excited about what he is doing with this great program. I have tremendous respect for the way he coaches, the kind of person he is and how he cares about his players. I’m happy to be a Lobo!”
“I am thrilled to be in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico … I am excited about what [Coach Weir] is doing with this great program. I have tremendous respect for the way he coaches, the kind of person he is and how he cares about his players. I’m happy to be a Lobo!”
-Special Assistant to the Head Coach Dave Pilipovich