LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) Virginia Military Institute hired Virginia offensive line coach Scott Wachenheim as its football coach Sunday, hoping his Air Force Academy background will help turn around the Keydets.
VMI has not had a winning season since the 1981 team finished 6-3-1.
Athletic director David Diles said he was looking to meet three criteria in his search.
''First, we needed a coach with great leadership attributes and skills,'' he said in a release announcing the hire. ''Second, given the uniqueness of the Institute, and the learning curve of working within our system, we needed someone with high intelligence and the vision to utilize our systems as assets; and, finally, finding someone who understands and respects the varied experiences of cadet athletes was paramount.
''In Scott Wachenheim, we have found all of these things.''
The 52-year-old Wachenheim graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1984 and has been in coaching for 25 years.
He has worked at Virginia since 2011, and spent three seasons at Liberty from 2006-08. He also spent 12 seasons at Rice, the last five as offensive coordinator, and has had stops at Arkansas, Utah State, Colorado, and one year coaching tight ends with the NFL's Washington Redskins.
Diles cited Wachenheim's established recruiting ties in the state as key, and the ''compelling'' vision he articulated for ''moving our football program back to a position of competitive prominence in the Southern Conference.''
Wachenheim replaces Sparky Woods, who compiled a 17-62 record in seven seasons, including 2-10 this year. The Keydets this year also moved back to the Southern Conference after being in the Big South.