UNLV Parts Ways With Tony Sanchez, Will Coach Season Finale vs. Nevada
Sanchez is out as Rebels head coach.
UNLV is in the market for a new coach.
UNLV announced that is not going to retain Tony Sanchez after five years and with a 19-40 record but he will be on the sidelines this weekend taking on Nevada with a chance to win the Fremont Cannon.
The team released statements from Sanchez and athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois.
“We appreciate everything that Tony has done for our university and football program,” Reed-Francois said. “He made us better. Because of his work and his vision, we have the best facilities in the Mountain West and rival some of the best in the country.”
The announcement came to no one’s surprise as Sanchez has not been able to get the UNLV team to a bowl game during his time, and that was basically a requirement said by Reed-Francois last spring when she was evaulating the football program.
“I’m grateful for my time here and proud of the strides we made as a football program, on and off the field,” Sanchez said. “I’m proud of our student-athletes and our staff and how we have positioned the program for future success. I look forward to finishing the season strong with these young men.”
That is not to say that he did not do good things for the program. He was able to help bring in money for the program to build facilities including the Fertitta Football Complex.
The on the field success was not there and that includes one glaring game vs. Howard back in 2017 which UNLV was a heavy favorite but lost the game, 43-40. That team ended with just five wins and had they won over that FCS foe, the Rebels would have gone bowling at least once in his tenure.
There are other reasons as well for his ouster but it comes down to not getting wins. He was given a decent amount of time to improve the Rebels but coming from a high school program, even one of the best in the country in Bishop Gorman, it always was going to be an uphill battle to turn the Rebels into a winning team.
One thing that did hurt him this season was the loss of offensive coordinator Barney Cotton who had a heart transplant prior to the season, and that left Sanchez and the Rebels scrambling for an offensive coordinator. Cotton seemed to be a very important piece of this staff and the offense was never really all that consistent or really good with the replacement coordinator.
The timing of the firing by allowing Sanchez to coach the finale has a few reasons by the higher ups at UNLV. The main one is that if the Rebels were to defeat rival Nevada and win the Fremont Cannon by ending the year winning back-to-back games. There then could be fan support in allowing him to stay on as coach and lead the UNLV football team into the new Raiders stadium.
Doing it this way nixes that possibility, and with that UNLV goes into a new era of Rebel football.
Sanchez has two years left on his contract after 2019 and will be paid his base salary through 2021 which is $300,000 per year.