UNLV didn’t search far to find its next head coach. According to reports late Monday night from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated and Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Tony Sanchez is set to become the next UNLV head coach.
Sanchez is the ultra-successful head coach of Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School. He led the Gaels to an 85-5 mark with six state championships in his six seasons at the school.
UNLV is a program in needs of wins and financial stability, and the Rebels believe Sanchez can bring both. Sanchez’s candidacy was widely reported to be backed by the Las Vegas business community, and he’ll be expected to raise money to bring much-needed renovations to the Rebels’ football facilities as well as Sam Boyd Stadium.
“You’ve got to find the local homegrown kids and give them an opportunity and a reason to stay home,” Sanchez told SI. “That is huge. You talk about putting more people in the stands, getting more community support and people rallying around the program, I think it always starts in your backyard. Home is always home, but you’ve got to give them a reason to want to stay home.”
Sanchez will replace Bobby Hauck, who went 15-49 in five seasons after going 80-17 in seven years as Montana’s head coach.
Plucking high school coaches to the big time is a popular move in college football right now, as former high school coaches Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Art Briles (Baylor) and Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) have experienced tremendous success at their current schools, and former Texas high school coaches Chad Morris (SMU) and David Beaty (Kansas) have been hired during the young 2014-15 coaching carousel. But what separates those names from Sanchez is that none of them jumped straight from high school to FBS head coaching positions.
The most recent example of an FBS program plucking an ultra-successful local high school coach didn’t work out for either side as Todd Dodge, 84-1 from 2002-06 at Southlake Carroll in Texas, went 6-37 in three-and-a-half seasons at North Texas.
Prior to Bishop Gorman, Sanchez spent nearly his entire career in the high school ranks, bouncing around the Southwest from El Paso, Texas, to Las Cruces, N.M., and then to San Ramon, Calif., before landing in Las Vegas. According to SI, Sanchez’s only college coaching experience is a stint as a graduate assistant at New Mexico State in the mid-1990’s.
With UNLV filling its head coaching vacancy, Michigan, Oregon State, Colorado State, Houston and Tulsa remain the only FBS programs without full-time head coaches.
As Sanchez fills out his staff we’ll keep you posted on The Scoop.