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  Mike Sanford
Mike Sanford

Player Profile
Los Altos, Calif.

Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs

2nd Season


1977USC (Graduate Asst.)
1978San Diego City College Defensive Coordinator
1979-80Army Wide Receivers, Tight Ends
1981-82Virginia Military Institute Quarterbacks, WR, TE
1983-86Long Beach State
1983-84Quarterbacks, Receivers
1985-86Offensive Coordinator
1987-88Purdue Quarterbacks
1989-96USC Wide Receivers
1997-98Notre Dame Quarterbacks
1999-01San Diego (NFL) Wide Receivers
2002Stanford Offensive Coordinator, QB
2003-Utah Offensive Coordinator, RB


1990 (1989) Rose
1995 (1994)Cotton
1996 (1995)Rose
1999 (1998)Gator

Southern California, 1978
Bachelor's in physical education

Hometown: Los Altos, Calif.
Birthdate: April 20, 1955
Family: Married to the former Melinda Sorensen. Children Lindsay and Michael. Michael is a senior quarterback at Boise State.

In his first year as Utah's offensive coordinator, Mike Sanford helped instigate one of the biggest offensive turnarounds in the Mountain West Conference. Utah, which finished last in the league in scoring offense in 2002, shot to No. 3 under Sanford's guidance. The 2003 Utes improved 11 percentage points in red zone scoring, producing points on 79 percent of their trips inside the 20. Sanford, who calls the plays for Utah's innovative spread offense, also coached the running back Brandon Warfield to second-team all-conference honors. Warfield was voted the Offensive MVP of the Liberty Bowl.

A 27-year college and NFL coaching veteran, Sanford came 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, although he spent three years as the receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers from 1999-2001.

His NCAA Division I coaching experience includes stints at Stanford, Notre Dame, USC, Purdue, Long Beach State, Virginia Military Institute and Army. He and Utah Head Coach Urban Meyer coached together at Notre Dame from 1997-98-Sanford as quarterbacks coach and Meyer as receivers coach.

Sanford's first coaching position was as a graduate assistant under John Robinson at Southern California in 1977. His full-time coaching chronology began in 1978 as the defensive coordinator at San Diego City College. From there, he assisted at Army (1979-80), VMI (1981-82), Long Beach State (1983-86), Purdue (1987-88), USC (1989-96), Notre Dame (1997-98), the San Diego Chargers (1999-01) and Stanford (2002). He coached the wide receivers at Army, VMI, Long Beach State and USC, and the quarterbacks at VMI, Long Beach State, Purdue and Notre Dame. He also coached the tight ends at both Army and VMI and was the offensive coordinator at Long Beach State from 1985-86.

As an assistant coach, Sanford has participated in nine bowl games-six while at USC, two with Notre Dame and one with Utah. He coached against Utah in the 1993 Freedom Bowl, a 28-21 USC victory. 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.

Sanford's first assignment as offensive coordinator was at Long Beach State, where his passing offense finished fifth in the nation in 1985. The following season, the 49ers finished seventh in the nation in passing offense and his top receiver, Mark Templeton, led the nation in receptions and set an all-time NCAA reception record.

San Diego County, southern California, northern Utah.

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.

Tim Dwight: Wide receiver played for Sanford at San Diego (NFL).
Curtis Conway: USC receiver was drafted in the NFL's first round by Chicago, where he played for seven years. He has played the last three years for San Diego.
Johnnie Morton: USC receiver was first-round draft pick by Detroit. Played with the Lions eight years before going to Kansas City last year.
Keyshawn Johnson: USC consensus All-America receiver in 1995 was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1996 NFL draft, going to the New York Jets. He now plays for Tampa Bay.
Jarius Jackson: Notre Dame starting QB in 1998 is now with the Denver Broncos.
Brandon Warfield: Second-team all-MWC running back was the 2003 Liberty Bowl Offensive MVP.

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