The new job title at Arizona is coordinator of football alumni and high school relations.
No better person fits that kind of role presently than Brandon Sanders.
He is widely respected by his peers and by high school coaches throughout the state and in Southern California.
Sanders, 47, has officially been hired in that capacity at Arizona and posted today on Twitter his work has begun with a Zoom call with the state’s high school coaches involving coach Jedd Fisch:
— Brandon Sanders (@coachBSanders18) January 21, 2021
When the football alumni met in mass on a Zoom call with Fisch shortly after his hire last month, they requested that Sanders join his staff.
Fisch shortly thereafter brought in Arizona College Football Hall of Famers Ricky Hunley to coach the defensive line and Chuck Cecil to coach the defensive backs.
The hiring of Sanders, a safety during his Arizona career who went on to play for the New York Giants, appeared to be in limbo. He could not be the defensive backs coach with Cecil and DeWayne Walker hired to coach the secondary.
— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) January 19, 2021
“It’s been a honor to get this opportunity. I’m truly humbled,” Sanders wrote in a text message.
Fisch, who has shown his creativity in social media, came up with the role that perfectly fits Sanders’ strengths. The coach gave a hint that Sanders would be coming on board last week with one of his famous tweets that drops a clue.
Sanders became a face of the Desert Swarm defense when Sports Illustrated put him on the cover of the August 1994 College Football Preview edition along with legendary teammates Tedy Bruschi, Sean Harris, Jim Hoffman and Tony Bouie.
The Desert Swarm allowed 187.9 passing yards per game and just 65.1 rushing yards per game in 1992 when Arizona nearly upset No. 1 Miami on the road and toppled top-ranked Washington 16-3 at Arizona Stadium.
— Jedd Fisch (@CoachJeddFisch) January 16, 2021
The defense allowed 206.8 passing yards a game and a phenomenal 30.1 rushing yards per game in 1993 when the Wildcats finished 10-2 with a Fiesta Bowl shutout of Miami (final score 29-0).
Sanders played in every possible game of his Arizona career tallying nine interceptions from 1992-95 out of San Diego Helix High School.
He went on to play with the Giants for three seasons and he was an All-XFL defender for the Las Vegas Outlaws. In the summer of 2014, Pueblo High School decided to take a chance on him as head coach, and it was one of the best moves the school has ever made.
From 2004 to 2013, the Warriors averaged 2.7 wins a year.
Sanders guided Pueblo to seven wins in his first season.
The program earned a playoff berth the following year, breaking a 25-year drought. His team won eight games in 2017, breaking a 29-year span of which Pueblo had only one seven-win season. He led his program to another eight-win season in 2019 before resigning to become the defensive backs coach of the Indoor Football League’s Tucson Sugar Skulls.
Former #ArizonaWildcats and Desert Swarm standout Brandon Sanders started this rousing postgame speech to his @PuebloFootball team after its 22-21 win over Sunnyside: “The team! The team! The team!” like his late coach Dick Tomey addressed the Wildcats. pic.twitter.com/acNYhnmUlD
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) September 21, 2019
Sanders never had the chance to coach with the Sugar Skulls because the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19.
Sanders went 41-22 with two region titles, three playoff appearances and two eight-win seasons at Pueblo.
Well after Sanders left Pueblo, he returned to the campus to help some of his former players get into college either by reaching out to coaches or by helping them know what is available to them.
He was selected the AllSportsTucson.com 2019 Vern Friedli Coach of the Year.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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.