Former Falcon to join All-America Hall of Fame
Lance Pilch rounds the bases during a U.S. Air Force Academy baseball game in the early '90s. Now a major, he has been selected for induction in the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Hall of Fame. (U.S. Air Force photo)
6/27/2007 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFPN) -- A 1993 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy will be inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Hall of Fame at the 20th annual induction banquet July 1 in San Diego.
Maj. Lance Pilch is the sixth academy graduate to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Brock Strom, Rich Mayo, Chad Hennings, Michelle Johnson and Chris Howard.
The academy has more inductees into the Academic Hall of Fame than any other school.
A two-time Academic All-American (1992 and 1993), Major Pilch earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He later earned a master's from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 2006 with high academic distinction.
A co-captain of the 1993 Falcon baseball team, he was a three-year letter winner and two-year starter in the outfield. His 11 career triples are seventh in Air Force history.
In 1992, he spent the majority of the season with a batting average over .400 and finished with a .361 average and a team-high 12 stolen bases. As a senior, he hit .315 and tied a then-school record with eight triples. That season, he also helped guide the team to a 28-22 record, the team's first winning season in nine years and a school record 21 home wins.
After graduating from the academy, he completed pilot training and began flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He built an F-16 squadron from the ground up at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. In 1996 and 1997, he was named the best wingman and, in 1998, the best flight lead.
He was the No. 1 graduate out of the Air Force Weapons School in 2001 and was the worldwide No. 1 F-16 pilot in 2002. Major Pilch was one of only seven pilots in the world who was hand-selected to fly and teach in the Air Force's newest plane, the F-22 Raptor. He was one of only three pilots in the world qualified to fly the F-16, F-15 Eagle and the F-22 and was chosen to brief the Air Force chief of staff on the $43 billion F-22 program in October 2003.
Major Pilch has been selected for lieutenant colonel two years early. He has flown in combat in Iraq and has more than 2,000 total flying hours. In 2005 he led the Super Bowl fly-by, the first ever joint fly-by between the F-22 and Navy aircraft. He has also been selected for several flyovers, including the 2007 Daytona 500. He is currently an F-22 pilot at Tyndall AFB, Fla., and supervises 170 military, contractors and civilians and more than $30 million in assets.
Originally from Stockton, N.J., Major Pilch has been active in the community, speaking at numerous elementary and high schools about being an officer and pilot in the Air Force and the importance of education. He has also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and with FOCUS HOPE, delivering food to needy families in inner-city Detroit.
"I am honored to represent the U.S. Air Force Academy and the United States Air Force in the Academic All-America Hall of Fame," Major Pilch said.
"When you are part of a great team, individual awards take care of themselves. I was fortunate to be on the USAFA baseball team from 1991 to 1993, and it was a tremendous experience," he said. "I have seen similar teamwork throughout my career in the Air Force, epitomized by Airmen willing to die for their country. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a direct result of my teammates on the Air Force baseball team and my fellow Airmen today."
Major Pilch is joined in the Class of 2007 by Julie Foudy (Stanford University, class of 1993), Joe Girardi (Northwestern University, class of 1986), Dr. Amy (Sullivan) Nordmann (Washington University in St. Louis, class of 1994) and Steve Smith (Stanford University, class of 1980).
The inductees will join 93 previous inductees since the CoSIDA Academic All-American Hall of Fame held its first induction in 1988. CoSIDA established the Hall of Fame to honor former college student-athletes who have excelled in their professions and made substantial contributions to their communities. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, a candidate either had to be an Academic All-American team member who graduate at least 10 years ago, or fall into the honorary category, as was the case with Smith, a former All-America water polo player at Stanford.
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