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UNLV parts ways with head coach Tony Sanchez after 5 seasons

UNLV is moving on from head coach Tony Sanchez.

The school announced Monday that it has decided to part ways with Sanchez at the end of the season. Sanchez, who will coach Saturday’s season finale against Nevada, has a 19-40 record across five seasons at the school. 

Sanchez was extremely successful (85-5) as the head coach at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, but could not translate that success over to the collegiate level. Sanchez coached the Rebels to a 5-7 mark in 2017, but could never get the program over the hump and into a bowl game. 

“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. I would also like to thank our community, our alumni and our donors for their generous support in making the Fertitta Football Complex a reality.”

UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez had a 19-40 record in five seasons. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A newly intriguing coaching destination?

UNLV has just two winning seasons — 2000 and 2013 — in the last 25 years, but recently received a major facility upgrade with the $34 million Fertitta Football Complex, which opened on campus earlier this fall. Sanchez played a big role in fundraising, helping his case to return for the 2019 season. Ultimately, though, the team did not win enough under his watch.

The new facility, plus the fact that the Rebels will begin playing at Allegiant Stadium, the future home of the Raiders, when the franchise officially completes its move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, makes UNLV an intriguing opening in the upcoming coaching carousel. 

“We appreciate everything that Tony has done for our university and football program. 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,” said UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois. 

“What he has done for the football community in Las Vegas during his five years at UNLV and his six years at Bishop Gorman High School has been remarkable. Further, our football team has made great progress academically under Tony's leadership. We wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

UNLV is now the fourth FBS program with a head coach opening, joining Rutgers, Arkansas and Florida State. A few more could be coming in the Mountain West. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported last week that New Mexico and Colorado State are also poised to make coaching changes. 

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