Mike Sanford

Former Boise State Offensive Coordinator Mike Sanford Named Notre Dame Football Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

March 2, 2015

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Irish Extra: Mike Sanford

Mike Sanford, offensive coordinator at Boise State University in 2014 and widely considered to be one of college football’s brightest offensive minds, has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the University of Notre Dame football program.

Sanford, whose father Mike Sanford was the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame for three years (1996-98) under both Lou Holtz and Bob Davie, joins the Notre Dame program from his alma mater where he served as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last fall.

In 2014 Sanford helped Boise State to a 12-2 record, the Mountain West Conference championship and a Fiesta Bowl victory over Pacific-12 South champion Arizona. The Broncos qualified as one of five Football Bowl Subdivision schools that ranked among the top 30 in the nation in all four major offensive statistical categories: ninth in scoring (39.7 points per game), 14th in total offense (494.3 yards per game), 23rd in passing offense (280.4 yards per game) and 29th in rushing offense (213.9 yards per game).

Boise State, which ranked 17th in red-zone offense last season, was the lone FBS program in 2014 to rank among the top 30 in scoring, total offense, red-zone offense, passing offense and rushing offense. The 2014 Broncos were also one of 19 FBS schools that averaged over 200 yards per game in both rushing and passing.

Sanford tutored Bronco signal-caller Grant Hedrick to a record-setting season in 2014. Hedrick led the FBS in completion percentage (.708) and finished seventh in the country in passing yards per attempt (8.91). He ranked ninth nationally in passing efficiency (157.20), 13th in passing yardage (3,696) and 14th in total offense (306.3 yards per game). Hedrick also rushed for 592 yards and eight touchdowns.

Boise State running back Jay Ajayi excelled in Sanford’s balanced attack. Ajayi became the only player in FBS history to record 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season. Ajayi broke Bronco single-season records for rushing yards (1,823), rushing TDs (28), all-purpose yards (2,358) and carries (347). He led the FBS in scoring (13.7 points per game).

Prior to his return to Boise State Sanford spent five seasons at Stanford over multiple stints (2007-08 and 2011-13). After working with the Cardinal quarterbacks as an offensive assistant from 2007-08, Sanford coached the Stanford running backs in 2011 and 2012 and then the Cardinal quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2013.

Sanford served as Stanford’s recruiting coordinator in each of his final two seasons when the Cardinal put together back-to-back top 20 national recruiting classes, including a top-five class in 2012.

Twenty-three members of Stanford’s 2012-13 signing classes were rated in the top 25 nationally at their respective positions by various services. Twenty-two were rated at least four stars by various recruiting services, including six five-star selections, and 20 were selected to play in prep All-America games. Parade, SuperPrep or PrepStar recognized 18 as high school All-Americans.

On the field, the Cardinal won the Pacific-12 championship in both 2012 and 2013, earning back-to-back appearances in the Rose Bowl. Stanford also played in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl during Sanford’s debut season with the Cardinal in 2011.

Under Sanford’s direction in 2011 the Cardinal rushing attack ranked 18th in the FBS (210.6 yards per game)–a major reason Stanford finished the season ranked seventh nationally in scoring (43.2 points per game) and eighth nationally in total offense (489.3 yards per game). Stanford’s 2,738 yards were the third highest single-season mark in school history. The Cardinal also set a single-game record for rushing yardage when it rolled up 446 yards against 22nd-rated Washington.

Sanford worked closely with 2012 Doak Walker Award semifinalist Stepfan Taylor, who became Stanford’s all-time career rushing leader (4,300 yards). Taylor surpassed Darrin Nelson’s school record, which had stood since 1981.

Selected 140th overall in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals, Taylor registered 45 total TDs and 40 career rushing TDs, which rank first and second all-time in Stanford history, respectively. The 2013 Rose Bowl offensive MVP became the first Cardinal player to ever record three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

Under Sanford’s guidance as quarterback and wide receiver coach in 2013, Stanford sophomore quarterback Kevin Hogan completed the season ranked 21st nationally in passing efficiency (151.5). Hogan threw for 2,630 yards and 20 TDs, while averaging 8.91 yards per pass attempt. Sanford also mentored consensus first-team All-America wide-out Ty Montgomery, who also garnered first-team all-Pacific-12 honors as a kick returner and second-team all-conference accolades as a receiver. Montgomery registered 2,208 all-purpose yards and 14 TDs.

Sanford spent one season as the passing game coordinator at Western Kentucky in 2010. He oversaw an offensive unit that featured running back Bobby Rainey, who finished third nationally in rushing average (137.42) and 11th in all-purpose yardage (156.58).

Prior to joining the staff at Western Kentucky, Sanford’s first full-time coaching stint came at Yale in 2009 when he coached tight ends and fullbacks and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator.

Following his playing career with Boise State, Sanford served as a graduate assistant at UNLV from 2005-06 when he worked with his father, Mike, then the head coach of the Rebels.

Sanford received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Boise State in 2005. A former quarterback for the Broncos (2000-04) Sanford played on four bowl teams during his collegiate career as Boise State and compiled a combined 54-9 record, including an 11-1 record in 2004 culminating with a Liberty Bowl victory over Louisville.

Born in Lexington, Virginia, Sanford and his wife, Anne-Marie, have a daughter, Peyton, and a son, Gunnar.

The Sanford File

Year School/Franchise Assignment
2015 Notre Dame Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2014 Boise State Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks (12-2, Mountain West champion, Fiesta Bowl champion)
2013 Stanford Recruiting Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers (11-3, Pacific-12 champion, Rose Bowl)
2012 Stanford Recruiting Coordinator/Running Backs (12-2, Pacific-12 champion, Rose Bowl champion)
2011 Stanford Running Backs (11-2, Pacific-12 North co-champion, Fiesta Bowl)
2010 Western Kentucky Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2009 Yale Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends/Fullbacks
2008 Stanford Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks
2007 Stanford Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks
2006 UNLV Offensive Graduate Assistant/Specialists/Assistant Quarterbacks
2005 UNLV Offensive Graduate Assistant/Specialists/Assistant Quarterbacks