LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Gary Andersen has made the last major hiring on his new coaching staff.
Mike Sanford has been named Utah State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, replacing David Yost, who left for Texas Tech with Matt Wells.
Sanford brings 14 years of college coaching experience with him to Utah State, including two years as a head coach and three more seasons as an offensive coordinator. In all, Sanford has coached in five New Year’s bowl games and has been a part of three conference championship teams.
Most recently, Sanford spent two seasons (2017-18) as the head coach at Western Kentucky, leading the Hilltoppers to a 9-16 overall mark and 6-10 conference record, highlighted by a berth in the 2017 AutoNation Cure Bowl in his first season, one of just five rookie head coaches to take his team to a bowl game in his first season. A pair of players were drafted from that squad as linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe went in the fourth round to the Chicago Bears and quarterback Mike White was taken in the fifth round by the Dallas Cowboys. A third player, tight end Deon Yelder, received immediate interest as a free agent and is currently with the Kansas City Chiefs.
A former quarterback at Boise State (2000-04), Sanford holds coaching experience from three Fiesta Bowls and two Rose Bowls, along with playing experience in the Humanitarian, Fort Worth and Liberty Bowls.
Prior to his head coaching stint at Western Kentucky, Sanford spent the previous two seasons as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame, where he tutored Fighting Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer to stellar performances while in South Bend.
Kizer had near-record breaking marks in Notre Dame single-game history for rushing yards by a quarterback (second), touchdown passes (tied for second) and total offense (seventh), to go along with the single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (10) in 2015. Kizer finished his career at Notre Dame with the best per-game total offense average in school history (272.2), the highest points responsible for per-game mark (15.6) and the second-best passing efficiency rating (147.7).
Prior to Notre Dame, Sanford spent one season at his alma mater, Boise State, in 2014, where he guided a Broncos offense that was one of just five FBS schools to rank among the top 30 nationally in all four major offensive statistical categories (scoring, total offense, passing offense and rushing offense).
The Broncos went 12-2 that year, won the Mountain West championship and defeated Pac-12 South champion Arizona in the Vizio Fiesta Bowl. Quarterback Grant Hedrick led the FBS in completion percentage (70.8), while ranking seventh in passing yards per attempt (8.91), ninth in passing efficiency (157.2), 13th in passing yardage (3,696) and 14th in total offense per game (306.3).
Sanford is the son of former Utah offensive coordinator and UNLV head coach Mike Sanford, Sr.