UNLV adds depth to the defensive front heading into the season.
"I've known Tony Samuel since 1997 and we have had a long-lasting relationship," Sanchez said. "He's a tremendous football coach with a proven track record of success and we are fortunate to have him at UNLV."
Samuel comes to Las Vegas after spending last season at Georgia State, where he helped produce a significant improvement on defense for the Panthers, who went to the first bowl game in program history. In fact, Georgia State led the nation both in improvement for rushing yards allowed per game, a full 122.3 yards less than the previous season; and improvement in points allowed (15 less per game than 2014).
"I have stayed in touch with Tony since we first met when I was taking over at New Mexico State and there is a lot of familiarity with a lot of people on the staff," Samuel said. "I am excited about the potential of what can happen at UNLV and looking forward to being a part of it."
Samuel boasts 16 years of head coaching experience: eight with New Mexico State (1997-2004) and eight with Southeast Missouri State (2006-13).
In 2010, Samuel guided Southeast Missouri State to its best season as a Division I program with a 9-3 record and the first NCAA playoff berth in the school's 107-year history. For his efforts, Samuel won the Sports Network Eddie Robinson, Fritz Pollard, Roy Kidd Ohio Valley Conference and American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year awards.
The highlight of Samuel's tenure at New Mexico State was a 7-5 mark in 2002 that marked the Aggies' best record in more than three decades.
Samuel earned his first head coaching opportunity after an 11-year stint coaching the outside linebackers and rush ends at Nebraska, his alma mater, under legendary head coach Tom Osborne.
During Samuel's 11 seasons at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers won back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995, captured seven Big Eight/Big 12 Conference championships, averaged 10 wins per year and played in 11 bowl games. He mentored six first team All-Americans and 12 future National Football League players, including first-round draft picks Broderick Thomas (1989), Mike Croel (1991), Trev Alberts (1994) and Grant Wistrom (1998).
He began his coaching career by spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Western Michigan (1982-83) and then two years at Stanford (1984-85), tutoring the defensive line at both schools. He also served one year (2005) at defensive ends coach at Purdue.
Samuel played four years at Nebraska and was a member of Osborne's first recruiting class. He was a two-year starter at defensive end, played in four bowl games and earned honorable mention All-Big Eight Conference honors as a senior.
He earned his bachelor's degree in education from Nebraska in 1981.
A native of Trinidad, West Indies, Samuel moved to New Jersey at the age of 10. He and his wife, Diane, have four children and two grandchildren.