Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats Desert Swarm Standout Brandon Sanders Talks About Sugar Skulls Job, Dick Tomey, Adia Barnes and Coaching Future

The topics were wide-ranging Wednesday night in our discussion with Brandon Sanders about his life from high school days in San Diego to his post-Pueblo High School coaching career.

Sanders, the recently-hired defensive backs coach of the Tucson Sugar Skulls, took the time to talk with us during the Wings Over Broadway High School Sports Preview Show about various topics.

Among the discussion was his new stint with the Sugar Skulls following his successful six years as head coach at Pueblo, taking the Warriors to the state playoffs for the first time in 25 years. He is still giving back to his players and the South Tucson community by helping the young athletes further their careers into college.

He talked about his San Diego background with Arizona women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes. They graduated from high school three years apart in that area — Sanders from Helix in 1991 and Barnes from Mission Bay in 1994.

He explained that he met Barnes before they came to Arizona while with a group of friends at a Jack in the Box near a beach in San Diego. Who would have thought that day Barnes would go on to be the best player in Arizona women’s hoops history and one of the most successful young coaches in America and that Sanders would be a member of Arizona’s Desert Swarm and an NFL player with the New York Giants?

Sanders also spoke about the late Dick Tomey — his mentor in life (not only football) — and how the spirit of his former coach fuels his desire to give back to the kids he has coached and to Tucson in general.

“Everybody who knows me understands I want to do a lot in our community,” Sanders said. “I’ve been out here since 1991. … I’ve always kept a home here, so what can I do to do my part to help our community grow?”

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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