Mike Sanford begins his second season offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at the University of Louisville. Sanford also tutors the tight ends.
In his first season as offensive coordinator, Sanford brought a tough, physical running game and also helped improve the passing game. Louisville scored 23 or more points in nine games, including 56 in a win over Memphis.
Sanford mentoted tight end Cameron Graham to earn first-team All-BIG EAST accolades after catching 40 passes for 470 yards and five scores.
Sanford came to the Cardinals after serving five years as the head coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, where he tried to revive a program that had struggled over the years.
Prior to his term as the head coach of the Rebels, Sanford had built a reputation as one of the top offensive assistant coaches in the nation
Charged with reviving a program coming off four straight losing seasons, Sanford, 54, entered his first head coaching position following an outstanding career as one of the top assistants in the nation.
In 2008, Sanford's hard-work almost paid off as the Rebels missed bowl eligibility by one game and did shock the nation with an upset at No. 13 Arizona State earlier in the campaign. UNLV also set numerous school records on offense last year, including tying with Ohio State for the national lead in red-zone scoring percentage as well as posting the fewest overall penalty yards in a single season.
Before heading to UNLV, Sanford spent two outstanding seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Utah, which went 21-2 overall and 13-1 in the Mountain West Conference during his tenure. In fact, the 2004 Utes finished fourth in the nation and made crashed the BCS party by earning a trip to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
In his two years as Utah's offensive coordinator, Sanford was pivotal in one of the biggest offensive turnarounds in the nation while directing an innovative spread offense. Utah, which finished last in the MWC in scoring offense in 2002, ranked third in the nation in 2004 at 43.3 points per game, third in total offense at 499.75, third in passing efficiency (173.41) and boasted Heisman Trophy finalist Alex Smith, who went on to become the top pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Smith was second in the nation in passing efficiency and fifth in total offense during the Utes' improbable run.
During that same season, Utah boasted one of the nation's most balanced attacks, averaging 236.06 yards per game on the ground and 263.67 yards through the air.
A three-decade college and NFL coaching veteran, Sanford went to Utah from Stanford, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2002.
Most of his coaching career has been spent at the collegiate level,except for a three-year stint as the receivers coach for the NFL's San Diego Chargers from 1999-2001.
His NCAA Division I coaching experience includes stops at Notre Dame, USC, Purdue, Long Beach State, Virginia Military Institute and Army.
Sanford's first coaching position was as a graduate assistant under the man he replaced, Robinson, at Southern California in 1977. His full-time coaching chronology began in 1978 as the defensive coordinator at San Diego City College.
As an assistant coach, Sanford participated in nine bowl games with three programs. As the wide receivers coach at USC from 1989-96, Sanford assisted in two Pac-10 championships and two Rose Bowl victories (vs. Michigan in 1990 and Northwestern in 1996). Three of his Trojan receivers were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft: Curtis Conway in 1992, Johnnie Morton in 1993 and Keyshawn Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 draft and a consensus All-American in 1995.
As a player, Sanford was a reserve quarterback for USC's 1973 and 1974 Rose Bowl teams (the 1974 team beat Ohio State for the national championship). He played free safety in 1976 when USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl and finished second in the nation.
Sanford, born on April 20, 1955, earned his bachelor's degree from USC in 1978. He and his wife, Melinda, have two children: daughter, Lindsay, and son, Mike, who played quarterback at Boise State from 2001-04, and, after two seasons as a graduate assistant for the Rebels, joined the Stanford coaching staff in 2007 and then moved to Yale in 2009.