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Sanchez Names Skipper Defensive Coord., Simmons Safeties Coach

Jan. 22, 2018

LAS VEGAS ( - UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez announced two additions to his staff Monday as Tim Skipper is the new defensive coordinator and Al Simmons joins the program to coach safeties. Also, running backs coach Travis Burkett has added the title of special teams coordinator for his second season with the Rebels.

Skipper, who will also oversee the squad's linebackers, spent the last three seasons as an assistant at Florida, coaching linebackers in 2017 and the Gators' running backs in 2015-16.

"I've known Tim Skipper and followed his career for many years," said Sanchez. "He has a diverse coaching background on both sides of the ball and been mentored by some great coaches like Pat Hill and Jim McElwain. He's been a defensive coordinator in previous stops, been part of successfully building programs -- including at Colorado State -- and helped take two Florida Gator teams to the SEC Championship game. We will benefit from Tim's energetic and aggressive approach on defense and are fired up to have him here at UNLV."

Having spent most of his career in the West, Skipper served at both Colorado State, overseeing the linebackers from 2012-14, and Fresno State, coaching on both sides of the ball, from 2006-11. Skipper's earlier stops were at Sacramento State and Western New Mexico, including filling the defensive coordinator role for both programs.

A native of New Orleans, Skipper was a four-year starter at Fresno State at middle linebacker from 1997-2000. A three-time All-WAC selection, he was named freshman All-America with 117 total tackles as a rookie. He earned his bachelor's degree in communications from Fresno State in 2001. A product of a coaching family, his father, Jim Skipper, is the running backs coach for the NFL's Carolina Panthers while his brother, Kelly Skipper, is the running backs coach for the Buffalo Bills.



2018 - UNLV -- Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2017 - Florida - Linebackers
2015-16 - Florida - Running Backs
2012-14 - Colorado State - Assistant Head Coach (2013-14)/Linebackers (2012-14)
2009-11* - Fresno State - Linebackers/Run Defense Coordinator
2006-08 - Fresno State - Running Backs
2004-05 - Sacramento State - Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2003 - Sacramento State - Secondary
2002 - Western New Mexico - Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2001 - Western New Mexico - Secondary
*served as Interim Defensive Coordinator for the final three games in 2011 at Fresno State

Simmons, a veteran of 32 years in coaching on the collegiate and NFL levels, spent the last three seasons overseeing the cornerbacks at MW-member New Mexico after previously serving as the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Colorado State.

"Al Simmons brings a wealth of experience to UNLV with many successful years on the collegiate and pro levels to his credit," said Sanchez. "He previously worked on the same staff with Tim at Colorado State and has produced many players who went on to play in the NFL. We are excited to add his passion and knowledge to the Rebel program."

Simmons has coached at three Pac-12 Conference schools during his distinguished career, spending two stints coaching defensive backs at Cal (2008-10 and 1998-2000), two seasons at Arizona State (2006-07) and two at Oregon State (2001-02). Other stops included UTEP, San Jose State, Idaho State and Montana State.

For all or parts of six seasons, Simmons has coached at the NFL level, including two years (2003-04) as a full-time assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers. Simmons also assisted NFL staffs during training camp on four occasions, with the Los Angeles Raiders (1993), Arizona Cardinals (1996), San Diego Chargers (1999) and Dallas Cowboys (2000).

An all-conference linebacker at Laney College and an all-league safety at Cal State Hayward, Simmons began his coaching career at Cal State Hayward in 1986. A native of Oakland, he earned his bachelor's degree in business from the school in 1987 and his master's in 1991.

2018 - UNLV - Safeties
2015-17 - New Mexico - Cornerbacks
2012-14 - Colorado State - Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2011 - UTEP - Safeties
2008-10  - California - Defensive Backs
2007 - Arizona State - Co-Special Teams Coordinator/Cornerbacks
2006 - Arizona State - Cornerbacks
2005 - San Jose State - Cornerbacks
2004 - San Francisco 49ers - Defensive Backs
2003 - San Francisco 49ers - Cornerbacks
2001-02 - Oregon State - Defensive Backs
2000 - Dallas Cowboys - Secondary Asst.-Summer
1999 - San Diego Chargers - Linebackers Asst.-Summer
1998-2000 - California - Cornerbacks
1997 - Idaho State - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1996 - Arizona Cardinals - Secondary Asst.- Summer
1995-96 - Montana State - Defensive Backs
1994 - San Francisco State - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1993 - Los Angeles Raiders - Secondary Asst.-Summer
1988-93 - Cal State Hayward - Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
1986-87 - Cal State Hayward - Defensive Backs

The annual national signing period begins February 7 and then the Rebels will open their fourth spring practice under Sanchez March 6. The annual UNLV Football Spring Showcase is scheduled for Saturday, April 14 on campus starting at noon.

Deposits for new season tickets for the 2018 season are on sale now by visiting or calling (702) 739-FANS. Season ticket renewals are set to begin later this week.

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