Note: I’m reposting the profiles I wrote on each of the Boise State football coaches with some additional reporting that didn’t make the stories. The last one will appear on game day.
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
Hometown: Seal Beach, Calif.
Playing career: Backup quarterback at Boise State (2000-04). He was 11-for-21 for 173 yards with one interception as a senior. He threw his only touchdown pass as a junior.
Coaching career: UNLV graduate assistant (2005-06), Stanford offensive assistant (2007-08), Yale tight ends/fullbacks coach and recruiting coordinator (2009), Western Kentucky quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator (2010), Stanford running backs coach (2011), Stanford running backs coach and recruiting coordinator (2012), Stanford quarterbacks and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator (2013)
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Boise State (2005)
Family: Wife, Anne-Marie; daughter, Peyton (4); son, Gunnar, on the way
Did you know? Sanford called the pass plays at Western Kentucky. Another coach called the run plays. The head coach decided if it would be a run or pass play. Stanford uses the same committee system.
Quotable: “Coming back to Boise State was definitely a goal of mine. That’s always been something I wanted to be a part of because of how much it impacted me in the formative years and really led to me going into the coaching profession.”
— Sanford was born in Lexington, Va., at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital. He hasn’t been there since. He tried to swing by during a couple of Stanford recruiting trips but never made it. The Broncos will play near there next year at Virginia.
— Sanford used to hang out with Oregon State coach Mike Riley’s son Matt at USC practices. They’d go up on the video tower. Sanford would watch players. Riley would mess with the video camera. Now Sanford is the Broncos’ offensive coordinator and Riley has worked in the video department at Oregon State.
— Sanford spent his sophomore and junior years as a quarterback at Penn High in Mishawaka, Ind. (his dad was at Notre Dame). The quarterback, he said, was a lead blocker on 75 percent of plays. “But I had a great experience,” he said.
— He was a political science major. “I’ve always been fascinated by following politics. I really enjoy following the careers of politicians. I love a good spirited debate — just to track that part of society. When I knew I wanted to go into coaching, I looked at (former Nebraska coach Tom) Osborne. He lived the great life. I think that would be a great thing to be a part of. Coach football, gain a reputation for doing a good job and being a man of integrity and then to be able to carry that on in public service. I thought that was a pretty neat example.”
— On not winning the Broncos’ starting quarterback job in 2004: “It still probably bothers my wife and my mom more than it bothers me. (Jared) Zabransky and I became very close that year. I felt like on the field in between series I was relaying messages from (offensive coordinator Chris Petersen) and really having a chance to see the coaching thing firsthand. Even when I first got into the coaching profession, with nothing on my resume, I put my experience as a Boise State quarterback. I believe that is part of my resume.”
— On his career goals: “At some point I’d love to be a head football coach. That’s a goal of mine. It’s an aspiration of mine. But it’s not what drives me at this point. I want to be ready for it and I want it to be the right fit. That could be 25 years down the road but it could be sooner than that. But it’s something I want to do because I think I’ve had a pretty unique experience in this game.”
— On running the ball: “When you look around at championship teams — conference championship teams and national championship teams — they can run the football. Your foundation is being able to run the football. Teams that throw it 85 times a game, you’ll put butts in the seats and you’ll have some stats that you’ll hang your hat on, but at the end of the day to win 11, 12, 13, 14 games — those teams can run the football. That’s something that I believe in.”
— Sanford likes to snowboard and still attends sporting events as a spectator. During spring recruiting, he sometimes attends an MLB game in the evenings. “I love to watch coaches in other disciplines,” he said. “I really enjoyed doing that at Stanford, where you’re truly around some of the best coaches in the country. Go watch other coaches’ practices, watch other teams play. I really do enjoy the strategy of sport in general.”
— Sanford and his dad, Indiana State coach Mike Sanford, often are called Jr. and Sr. But that’s not technically true. They have different middle names.
— Stanford coach David Shaw is Sanford’s biggest coaching influence outside of his dad. “The thing I loved about him and I try to pattern myself after is to truly be yourself, be your personality when you’re coaching. Don’t put on the coaching façade and don’t put on what people want you to be. He’s done a great job of that and I try to apply that to what I do.”
— Sanford on possibly coaching with his dad again (they were together at UNLV): “It’d be an awesome deal. Those years were pretty special — especially building something that had been down for a while. That was a great experience for both of us.” His dad said: “I probably didn’t appreciate it enough at the time and I really miss it now.”
— Stanford associate head coach Mike Bloomgren on Sanford: “He was able to make it fun enough for the players that he could get everything taught. It’s not always hard to teach a Stanford kid, but there’s times it’s harder than you think it should be. You have to teach in such a way to reach everybody in the room and he was able to do that.”
— Bloomgren on Sanford’s recruiting: “He’s so outgoing. He’s got a great personality. Kids fall in love with him and certainly parents do.”
— Sanford’s dad, Mike: “He’s been exposed to a lot of different coaches, a lot of different people. That’s been really good for him. When you’re around that, you kind of see how you want to do things and you also see how you don’t want to do things. That’s all part of the process.”
— His dad: “He’s got a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and he’s a very upbeat guy and that’s part of his thing. That’s the way he’s always been.”
— His dad, on Sanford not getting the starting QB job at Boise State: “It was a really hard thing for him to go through, a hard thing for us as a family to go through. But then I think I was really pleased and proud of how he handled it. He wanted to be a team guy. He wanted to do everything he could to help the team win. That’s something I have a lot of respect for.”
— His dad came to Boise State last spring and hung out with the offensive staff: “They have really good relationships and camaraderie on the offensive staff. He’s a really good teacher. He’s a very energetic on-the-field coach and that’s really a plus.”
Tomorrow: Marcel Yates
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