Western Kentucky won its final two games of the season, concluding with a 40-16 win over UTEP and a 30-15 victory at Louisiana Tech. Those wins were not enough for WKU head coach Mike Sanford to save his job, as the Hilltoppers announced his firing on Sunday.
The late rally proved too little, too late after WKU started the year at 1-9. Overall, Sanford went 9-16 in two seasons leading the program.
“I would like to thank Mike for his dedication and passion leading our football program over the last two years,” Western Kentucky AD Todd Stewart said in a statement. “His commitment to bettering the lives of our student-athletes is unquestioned. However, based on a complete review of the total body of work of our program over the last two years and assessing the likelihood of meeting our future expectations, I felt it was time that we make a change in leadership. This was not an easy decision and was not made lightly.”
Western Kentucky made Sanford the youngest FBS head coach at the time in naming him as the replacement for Jeff Brohm, who was lured away to Purdue after leading WKU to back-to-back Conference USA championships in 2015-16.
The son of Mike Sanford, Sr., who was formerly the head coach at UNLV and Indiana State, the younger Sanford completed a rapid rise to the WKU job after spending just three years as an offensive coordinator, one at Boise State and two at Notre Dame.
Still only 36 years old, Sanford figures to be a valued prospect on the offensive coordinator market.