Bishop Gorman High's Tony Sanchez is in the process of finalizing an agreement to become UNLV’s new head coach, according to a source.
Sanchez, 40, won his sixth consecutive Nevada Division I state championship and capped a 15-0 season at the Las Vegas powerhouse on Saturday. He also likely clinched the program’s first mythical national title, as Bishop Gorman is ranked No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps.com and USA Today. Sanchez’s record is 85-5 at the affluent private Catholic school.
Sanchez will be counted on to not only bring several highly touted Bishop Gorman recruits to downtrodden UNLV, which finished 2-11 in 2014, but also to help raise money to upgrade the Rebels’ outdated football facilities and antiquated off-campus stadium. He has relationships with wealthy Las Vegas businessmen, including UFC chief executive officer Lorenzo Fertitta, a Bishop Gorman alumnus. Fertitta's son, Nicco, a defensive back, has committed to Notre Dame.
“Vegas is such an amazing town,” Sanchez told SI.com recently. “You need to tell the story of Vegas. I think people need to understand there’s wonderful families, churches and great communities with Little League fields. It’s thriving. The amount of talent in this town is unbelievable. So many guys have come out of Vegas. There’s a ton of talented kids right now.”
Sanchez will succeed Bobby Hauck, who resigned prior to UNLV’s final game this fall and compiled a 15-49 record in five seasons with the Rebels. The last UNLV coach to leave the school with a winning mark was Harvey Hyde, who went 26-19-1 from 1982-85.
“You’ve got to find the local homegrown kids and give them an opportunity and a reason to stay home,” Sanchez said. “That is huge. You talk about putting more people in the stands, getting more community support and people rallying around the program, I think it always starts in your backyard. Home is always home, but you’ve got to give them a reason to want to stay home.”
Before arriving at Bishop Gorman in the spring of 2009, the offensive-minded Sanchez was the head coach at California High in San Ramon, Calif., for five years. He led California to the playoffs three times.
Sanchez also served two stints as an assistant at Onate High in Las Cruces, N.M., and spent a year at Irvin High in El Paso, Texas. He played at Granada High in Livermore, Calif., before attending Laney College and transferring to New Mexico State, where he was a wide receiver from 1994-95. Sanchez started coaching at New Mexico State as an undergrad assistant under former coach Jim Hess.
Others considered for the position included former SMU coach June Jones.