Last season marked just the third time in UNLV history and first time since 1999-2000 that the Rebels won more games than the previous season for a second straight year. For that rather program-specific historic development, the head coach has been rewarded.
UNLV announced in a press release Friday night that the university and Tony Sanchez have reached an agreement in principle on a three-year contract extension. The new deal would keep the head coach with the football program through the 2021 season.
Sanchez’s original deal had been scheduled to run through the 2018 season.
“Tony signed a four-year contract and halfway through it, we are even more convinced he is the answer to the question of how to make UNLV Football consistently successful,” athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy said. “Continuity is important in turning this program around and Tony’s success in building a roster, building the brand and building interest and support throughout the community has earned him an extension to see that vision realized.”
Sanchez, hired away from national high school power Las Vegas Bishop Gorman in 2014 having never coached at the collegiate level, went 3-9 in his first season with the Rebels. That was the most wins for a first-year Rebels coach since College Football Hall of Famer John Robinson hit the same mark in 1999.
He was also the first to stake claim to the Fremont Cannon for beating in-state rival Nevada on the road in his first season.
“I want to thank President [Len] Jessup and Tina for their continued support along with the entire Southern Nevada community, which has been unbelievable throughout our first two years here,” Sanchez said. “I am so excited to be leading UNLV Football for years to come.”
There was no word on what if any raise was included in the extension. In 2016, Sanchez was paid $510,000; that level of compensation was 11th in the 12-team Mountain West Conference.