Open Announce

Dave Pilipovich Named Special Assistant to the Head Coach

by Steve Kirkland

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The New Mexico men’s basketball program announced Thursday that veteran coach Dave Pilipovich has returned to the program as Special Assistant to the Head Coach. Pilipovich, who served in the same role for the Lobos in 2020-21, comes back to UNM after spending the past season as an assistant coach with the Austin Spurs of the NBA G-League.

Pilipovich brings over 35 years of coaching experience to New Mexico, including over a decade in the Mountain West. He was the head coach at Air Force for eight seasons (2012-20), and served as an assistant coach at Air Force, Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Robert Morris, Georgia State and Florida Atlantic during his career.

“I am excited to bring Dave on board,” said Head Coach Richard Pitino. “I was fortunate enough to work with him during the transition last year and I really enjoyed my time with him. Dave has incredible experience, both as an assistant coach and a head coach, in college as well as the G-League. He brings a wealth of knowledge that will be valuable for me, our staff and our players.”

Prior to his one season with the Lobos in 2020-21, Pilipovich coached at Air Force for 13 seasons, the last eight as head coach. From 2012-20, he amassed a 110-151 record at the academy and led the program to more six-win conference seasons (five) than any other coach in Falcon history. During his time as Air Force head coach, the Falcons recorded three of the four ranked victories in program history, including a win over No. 12 New Mexico in the 2012-13 regular season finale at Clune Arena, the program’s only win over a top-12 opponent.

“It is an honor to join the staff at New Mexico and I am excited to be back,” said Pilipovich. “Coach Pitino is an exceptional person and coach and I think the world of him. He has won everywhere he has been and he has a championship vision for Lobo basketball. My excitement to coach in The Pit is at an all-time high. When I was here two years ago, we never had the opportunity to play in The Pit, due to COVID. I have been in that arena many of times on the visiting bench, and have left sad many of times. It will be great to feel the support of the Lobo fans, who make the building special. To have the chance to join this staff and be a part of New Mexico Basketball is an incredible opportunity and my wife and I can’t wait to get to Albuquerque and get started.”

Before his tenure at Air Force, Pilipovich spent two years at Michigan. In his first season with the Wolverines, he served as the administrative assistant to head coach Tommy Amaker and helped the team reach the NIT final. He then served as an assistant coach during the 2006-07 season as Michigan again reached the NIT.

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 (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).

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.