Sanchez Takes Over At UNLV|
Jan. 4, 2006
LAS VEGAS - Mario Sanchez has been named head men's soccer coach at UNLV, Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick announced on Wednesday.
Sanchez comes to Las Vegas from Akron, where he was an assistant coach for the men's soccer program for the past three years. While on the Zips staff, he helped guide them to three NCAA appearances, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, where they tied eventual national champion Maryland, which advanced in a penalty kick shootout. The Zips finished the 2005 season with an 18-1-4 record and were ranked No. 1 in the nation for four straight weeks.
"Mario was instrumental in the success of the Akron men's soccer program, and his enthusiasm and drive for success is exactly what we want here at UNLV," said Hamrick. "He is very familiar with our conference and what it takes to be competitive in the MPSF. We also hope to engage the Las Vegas soccer community with our men's soccer program. We believe that Mario will be able to do this and bring UNLV men's soccer back to national prominence."
"I am extremely happy to be a part of the UNLV athletic department, I can definitely feel the excitement here for the direction that Mike has the entire department going," said Sanchez. "I am looking forward to bringing success to the men's soccer program here."
This will not be Sanchez's first exposure to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, as he was an assistant coach at Fresno State from 1999-2003 until the school dropped the men's soccer program. While in Fresno, he was also a staff coach for the Olympic Development Program Region IV from 2000-2003, and has also been an ODP coach for the Ohio North ODP program since November of 2003.
A 1999 graduate of Fresno State with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, Sanchez was also a four-year starter and two-time captain for the Bulldogs. Playing from 1993-97, Sanchez was an all-Far West Region selection in 1995 and 1997. He played for the national champion Central Coast Roadrunenrs in the United Soccer League from 1996-97, and was a third-round draft choice in the MLS by the Kansas City Wizards in 1998. Sanchez also played for Orange County Zodiac (1999) and Stanislaus Cruisers (2001) in the USL Professional Division.
Sanchez becomes the fourth head coach in the 32-year history of the program, and replaces Barry Barto, who was reassigned in December after 24 seasons.