Mike Sanford

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Mike Sanford
Sport(s) Football
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Indiana State
Conference MVFC
Record 14–23
Biographical details
Born (1955-04-20) April 20, 1955 (age 61)
Los Altos, California
Alma mater USC
Playing career
1973–1976 USC
Position(s) Quarterback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977 USC (GA)
1978 San Diego City CC (DC)
1979–1980 Army (WR/TE)
1981–1982 VMI (QB/WR/TE)
1983–1984 Long Beach State (QB/WR)
1985–1986 Long Beach State (OC)
1987–1988 Purdue (QB)
1989–1996 USC (WR)
1997–1998 Notre Dame (QB)
1999–2001 San Diego Chargers (WR)
2002 Stanford (OC/QB)
2003–2004 Utah (OC/RB)
2005–2009 UNLV
2010–2011 Louisville (AHC/OC/TE)
2012 Utah State (AHC/RB/TE)
2013–present Indiana State
Head coaching record
Overall 30–66
Accomplishments and honors
AFCA Regional Coach Of The Year (2014)

Michael Charles Sanford (born April 20, 1955) is an American college football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Indiana State University, a position he assumed in December 2012. Sanford served in the same capacity at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) from 2005 to 2009, compiling a record of 16–43. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), where he played quarterback for the Trojans from 1973 through 1976.

Head coaching career[edit]


On December 6, 2004, UNLV hired Sanford as the school's ninth head coach, taking over for the legendary John Robinson who went 2–9 his final year. Sanford inherited a program in decline. Some had blamed the program's problems on an inability to keep local talent at home. It was hoped that Sanford would reverse the fortunes of the long-suffering program with this new policy. His first two years at the helm produced just four total wins, on par with John Robinson's final season total.

Sanford's Rebels achieved one of biggest victories in UNLV football history, a 23–20 overtime win at 15th-ranked Arizona State on September 13, 2008. Sanford said it was the biggest win of his coaching career.[citation needed]

At the end of the 2009 season, UNLV announced it had fired Sanford. He left the Rebels after five seasons with an overall mark of 16–43.[1]

Indiana State[edit]

On December 14, 2012, Indiana State hired Sanford as the school's twenty-fourth head coach, taking over for Trent Miles who went 7–4 his final year.[2]

Overall, 2013 was a struggle as Sanford had to deal with several injuries to key players, a new staff and a handful of off-field issues. However, the Fightin' Trees were more competitive than their overall score indicates.

2014 (to date) has been a pleasant surprise; the Sycamores lost a close game to local Big Ten member Indiana; dominated Tennessee Tech and knocked off historic rival Ball State Cardinals football to reclaim the Victory Bell. The Sycamores posted a regular season record of 7-5 (4-4 in MVFC); were ranked in the Top 25 since Week 4 (27 September), went 5-3 against ranked FCS teams and won their opening round NCAA playoffs game.[3]

Assistant coaching career[edit]

Sanford began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at USC in 1977. Since then, he has served as an assistant coach for numerous teams in the collegiate and professional ranks, including San Diego City College, the United States Military Academy, Virginia Military Institute, Long Beach State, Purdue, USC, Notre Dame, the San Diego Chargers and Stanford. In 2003 Urban Meyer hired Sanford as his offensive coordinator at Utah. That year, the Utes won the Mountain West Conference Championship and won the Liberty Bowl. The next year, the Utes repeated as conference champs and finished the season 12–0, including a win over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. Sanford's offense averaged 45.3 points a game, and quarterback Alex Smith was MWC Player of the Year as well as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. The following spring, Smith was the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, selected by the San Francisco 49ers.


On December 22, 2009, Sanford was named offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at the University of Louisville.[4]

After a lackluster offensive performance against Marshall, Sanford did not travel with the Cardinals for their next game, against North Carolina. He did not attend any of the practices in the week leading up to the game. Quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson served as offensive play-caller for that game. CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported that Sanford had been fired and replaced by Watson.[5] However, The Courier-Journal's Rick Bozich reported that Sanford was still with the team, but may be demoted to a position coach.[6] Bozich later confirmed that Sanford was no longer offensive coordinator.[7]

The following Monday, Strong announced that Watson would serve as offensive coordinator for the remainder of the season, but that Sanford would remain on the coaching staff in another capacity.[8] He also denied rumors that there had been an altercation between them during the week.[9]

On October 22, Strong announced that Sanford was no longer with the program.[10]

Utah State[edit]

Sanford joined the Utah State coaching staff in March 2012. He served as the assistant head coach and running backs/tight ends coach. Sanford previously worked with head coach Gary Andersen at the University of Utah.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Rank#
UNLV Rebels (Mountain West Conference) (2005–2009)
2005 UNLV 2–9 1–7 9th
2006 UNLV 2–10 1–7 T–8th
2007 UNLV 2–10 1–7 9th
2008 UNLV 5–7 2–6 T–6th
2009 UNLV 5–7 3–5 6th
UNLV: 16–43 8–32
Indiana State Sycamores (Missouri Valley Football Conference) (2013–present)
2013 Indiana State 1–11 0–8 9th
2014 Indiana State 8–6 4–4 T–5th NCAA Division I 2nd Round 18 19
2015 Indiana State 5–6 3–5 T–6th
2016 Indiana State 0-0 0-0 TBD
Indiana State: 14–23 7–17
Total: 30–66


External links[edit]