My Monday blog

John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#1
Adios Tony Sanchez.

UNLV's five-year experiment to elevate a successful high school football coach to the Football Bowl Subdivision level is finally over.

Sanchez failed miserably in a pair of categories that matter most in big-time college football: Victories and Revenue.

A 20-40 record over five seasons, an average of exactly 4 wins and 8 losses per season, is one measuring stick.

Sanchez's ability, or lack thereof, to raise revenue for UNLV's cash-strapped athletic department is the other.

And therein lies the biggest difference between coaching at an affluent Bishop Gorman High School and coaching a struggling football program in a Group of Five conference.

Pursuit of the almighty dollar leads to a seedy underbelly of college football where scandals of all sorts involve athletes, coaches and administrators everywhere.

Happy to report, there were no major NCAA violations at UNLV during Sanchez's reign unless you count a winning rate of 33% a violation.

Attendance at UNLV home games declined each of the first four seasons of Sanchez's administration while corporate sponsors steered clear of UNLV in favor of a more popular newly-created NHL team (Vegas Golden Knights) and a renegade NFL brand (Las Vegas Raiders) set for relocation.

Disgust and disinterest were frequently-heard sentiments surrounding UNLV football throughout the Valley.

College football head coaches need to convince local residents and business leaders to invest time, money and interest in their teams.

Unfortunately for Sanchez, he had a hard time motivating his players, let alone the community.

It's easy to cite Sanchez's teams for a lack of discipline which led directly to a lack of execution.

There were many pre-snap penalties, countless dead-ball fouls and plenty of blown assignments in all three phases of the live game.

Have a trick play up your sleeve?

Run it against UNLV's gullible defense and watch it work.

The Rebels allowed more than 34 points per game over the past five seasons.

Unacceptable.

And who can forget UNLV's season-opening game against Howard University in 2017?

The Bison, a Football Championship Subdivision team from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, defeated UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium, 43-40, as 45-point underdogs.

It was classified as the largest upset in college football history and will stain UNLV football for years to come.

The start of the Howard-UNLV game was typical Rebel football.

UNLV was penalized for offside on the opening kickoff and things went downhill from there.

Sanchez deserves his fair share of criticism for five failed seasons, a period of time when every Mountain West team made a bowl appearance except for UNLV.

But let's not allow UNLV's athletic department off the hook.

Had the administration done its due diligence, it's doubtful Sanchez would have been hired in the first place.

Remember Todd Dodge?

He won the 2004 High School Coach of the Year award presented by USA Today before being named head coach at the University of North Texas.

Like Sanchez, Dodge had no head coaching experience beyond high school and promptly went 6-37 before his dismissal.

Similar to Sanchez, Dodge's teams could not defend the run or the pass, yet played a hurry-up style of offense which taxed its defensive unit.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

There was a more high-profile illustration of a job being too big for the applicant.

UNLV administrators of a certain age will remember the most famous high school coach to make the jump to college football.

Gerry Faust was a high school coaching legend in Cincinnati, Ohio where he led Moeller High to a record of 178-23-2, including seven undefeated seasons and four mythical national championships.

Faust accepted the Notre Dame job in 1981 amid great fanfare, but the enthusiasm dampened quickly as the losses mounted furiously.

ND finished 5-6 in Faust's first season despite an opening-week victory over LSU and a #1 ranking in the early-season polls.

Faust's lifelong dream turned into a national nightmare.

Notre Dame's gamble on a high school coach went bust.

Faust finished his Notre Dame tenure at 30-26-1 after a Jimmy Johnson-coached Miami-Florida team blasted the Irish, 58-7, in the Orange Bowl following the 1985 season.

The most embarrassing part of Faust's time in South Bend was a film clip depicting him in prayer before an opponent's field-goal attempt.

"Say a Hail Mary, say a Hail Mary," he encouraged everyone around him.

First, Notre Dame.

And then, North Texas.

And now, UNLV.

UNLV's athletic department failed to do its homework before hiring Tony Sanchez.

A bargain base salary of $250,000 per season and a misguided endorsement from the influential Fertitta family was all it took for UNLV to take the bait on a high school coach with a sterling 85-5 record.

There's a reason most Fortune 500 companies and the United States military believe in incremental promotion.

Learning all facets of an operation is mandatory before reaching the level of CEO or General or Head Coach.

Sometimes outside-the-box thinking is outside the box for a reason.
 
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John Kelly

Born Gambler
Staff member
#4
With this hindsight, did you capitalize on the described short- comings.

Good question, Cheap.

Not really.

As Birdie mentioned, Sanchez's pointspread record was respectable as the head coach of a losing team.

It helped that Bobby Hauck put the program in the toilet before Sanchez's arrival.

I show a pointspread record of 29-30-1 after 60 games.

Interestingly, Sanchez was excellent at winning outright as an underdog.

I count 11 straight-up victories over five seasons including improbable wins over San Diego State, Fresno State and Vanderbilt as 24-point, 21-point and 16-point underdogs.
 
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#6
JK....your analysis and ability to put it into words demands a spot somewhere among the many national TV and magazine outlets in the country....your talent should be recognized by some network in the media....
 

FairWarning

Bells Beer Connoisseur
#12
Looking at UNLV from afar, they are basically a MAC level program trying to play with the big boys. The sooner they realize that, the better they will be program health wise. If the Pac 12 can’t keep their best players, why would UNLV think they can get them?
 
#17
throw the name of kendal briles into the mix as well - another former FAU OC. Hell, go for Lane Kiffin, it may be hard for FAU to keep him much longer, hope he stays at FAU but you never know what can happen when you knock on the door.............
 
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#18
UNLV needs a John Robinson type back. Robinson got a few 4 stars out of the LA area which got him to a few bowl games. If I was Vegas, I would definitely look at Helton after SC cans him shortly.
 
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winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#19
I recall my thoughts at the time were:

For UNLV - this was a good risk to take. Nick Saban or Urban Meyer was not gonna bang on the door wanting to be the next coach. For a program like UNLV you have to take chances on a young and upcoming coach..............and hope. Hope he turns into the next Saban/Meyer. If he fails he is no different than just about every other coach you have had. Having Fertitta money supporting him also did not hurt at all

So Sanchez failed. He won't go down as the worst-ever UNLV coach. As long as lying, cheating, motherfucking piece of shit scumbag Harvey Hyde is associated with UNLV Sanchez can never be as bad as he was.
 
#20
New stadium won't help team.

Tulane for years was bad at Superdome.

Rutgers in the 70s used to play at Meadowlands

As reported Temple played at the Vet.

Pittsburgh plays at Heinz Field and middle of road team.

San Diego St at Jack Murphy hasn't raised the team.

SMU post death penalty playing at Cowboys Stadium couldn't do much.

Don't know the contract but playing at Raiders Stadium could cost UNLV money as stadium operations would be greater then revenue.
 

FairWarning

Bells Beer Connoisseur
#21
New stadium won't help team.

Tulane for years was bad at Superdome.

Rutgers in the 70s used to play at Meadowlands

As reported Temple played at the Vet.

Pittsburgh plays at Heinz Field and middle of road team.

San Diego St at Jack Murphy hasn't raised the team.

SMU post death penalty playing at Cowboys Stadium couldn't do much.

Don't know the contract but playing at Raiders Stadium could cost UNLV money as stadium operations would be greater then revenue.
Miami played at Dolphins stadium also.

Ill disagree with Winky on the type of coach they need. An up and comer sounds great, until he leave right after a good season. They need a Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith Type who have a name and are not looking to leave. It really shouldn't be that hard to get one.
 

winkyduck

TYVM Morgan William!!!
#22
Miami played at Dolphins stadium also.

Ill disagree with Winky on the type of coach they need. An up and comer sounds great, until he leave right after a good season. They need a Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith Type who have a name and are not looking to leave. It really shouldn't be that hard to get one.
I'll somewhat disagree here. I agree getting an "up and comer" is not great because he will leave first chance he gets. But would you rather be Western Michigan who sucked forever, brought in P.J. Fleck, saw him take them to a "Big 6" Bowl Game and be relevant for the first time in too-long-to-count OR just be irrelevant forever? Being a Fullerton alum I know if we hire someone who takes us to the NCAA Hoops Dance we run the risk of losing him to someone else. I AM FINE WITH THAT! 1978, 2008 and 2018 are our 3 Dance appearances. If someone comes along, gets us to the NCAA, then leaves - THANK YOU! Thank You for giving me a year to be proud of my school.

If I am UNLV I don't want a Butch Davis, Mack Brown, John Robinson (Past one) coach. Gimme someone who will fight to the death for the school - knowing full well the second he has any success he is gone. If Sanchez went 8-4 each of his first 5 years odds are he might have left and if so the entire UNLV fan base (both of them) would have thanked him for 5 great years and would have 100% understood him doing so.

UNLV in that new stadium reminds me of what happened to Fullerton in the 80s when we had a team. We played some games in Anaheim Stadium. 60,000+ seat Anaheim Stadium. MAYBE we drew 5,000. MAYBE! Aerial shots of the place were embarrassing. It looks more like ants stuck to the traps we stick on the floor to capture/kill them than a game. If they dropped a Nuclear Bomb in the stands it would have killed 5 people. If that. UNLV is running the risk of the same thing. They will need to "Tarp Off' the upper levels to avoid an even more scattered crowd. The first game will have a great crowd for the curiosity factor. After that.....................
 

FairWarning

Bells Beer Connoisseur
#23
I'll somewhat disagree here. I agree getting an "up and comer" is not great because he will leave first chance he gets. But would you rather be Western Michigan who sucked forever, brought in P.J. Fleck, saw him take them to a "Big 6" Bowl Game and be relevant for the first time in too-long-to-count OR just be irrelevant forever? Being a Fullerton alum I know if we hire someone who takes us to the NCAA Hoops Dance we run the risk of losing him to someone else. I AM FINE WITH THAT! 1978, 2008 and 2018 are our 3 Dance appearances. If someone comes along, gets us to the NCAA, then leaves - THANK YOU! Thank You for giving me a year to be proud of my school.

If I am UNLV I don't want a Butch Davis, Mack Brown, John Robinson (Past one) coach. Gimme someone who will fight to the death for the school - knowing full well the second he has any success he is gone. If Sanchez went 8-4 each of his first 5 years odds are he might have left and if so the entire UNLV fan base (both of them) would have thanked him for 5 great years and would have 100% understood him doing so.

UNLV in that new stadium reminds me of what happened to Fullerton in the 80s when we had a team. We played some games in Anaheim Stadium. 60,000+ seat Anaheim Stadium. MAYBE we drew 5,000. MAYBE! Aerial shots of the place were embarrassing. It looks more like ants stuck to the traps we stick on the floor to capture/kill them than a game. If they dropped a Nuclear Bomb in the stands it would have killed 5 people. If that. UNLV is running the risk of the same thing. They will need to "Tarp Off' the upper levels to avoid an even more scattered crowd. The first game will have a great crowd for the curiosity factor. After that.....................
As a WM grad, of course it was nice to get a top 6 bowl, but we also knew the clock strikes 12. UNLV fans think their program should be much better than what it is. I think they have very unrealistic expectations.

A coach that has had great success stepping down and staying is Frank Solich at Ohio.
 
#24
Playing at the new stadium is sort of a must because Sam Boyd is horrendous. I agree with Winky I think they need to try to get a guy who will give them 3-5 years to get the program some momentum before leaving and then hire another of those guys again. Eventually you can swim in a different pool if you do that.

Sanchez wasn't great but I think JK understates what he did. He made them better under the hood. They have upgrades to the facility and the alumni who matter have been better in supporting the program financially. Yeah the high school coach part was bound to fail but so was bringing in some guy from FCS in North Dakota or Montana to run things. Sanchez cares about Vegas and pumps the city for the recruits and that matters. Hope the next guy takes the baton and does more of it with a program that has no excuses now not to improve.
 
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