A name for those who want to see Sanford gone

UNLV could do a lot worse than a 10-time national champion

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Should Mike Sanford be fired as UNLV’s football coach, one name already has surfaced in conjunction with the potential opening.

It has surfaced again and again and again and again on the discussion boards on the Sun Web site:

Larry Kehres.

“Hire Larry Kehres!” writes a fan with the user name revtomperl again and again and again and again.

Who the heck is Larry Kehres?

Larry Kehres is the head coach at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He is the winningest coach, in terms of percentage, in NCAA history. Since becoming head coach in 1986, Kehres has guided the Purple Raiders to 284 victories against 21 defeats with three ties.

Two hundred eighty-four victories.

Twenty-one defeats.

Three ties.

Put that in your Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl and smoke it.

Kehres’ teams have won 10 of the past 16 NCAA Division III championships. It will probably soon be 11 of 17. Mount Union had its big showdown game against 15th-ranked Otterbein last weekend. Mount Union won 58-7 to remain undefeated.

Lenny Reich, the Mount Union sports information director, told me this isn’t the first time the 60-year-old Kehres, who also was Mount Union’s swimming coach for a while — you gotta love NCAA D-III — has been mentioned in conjunction with an opening, or at least a potential opening, at the D-I level.

“We definitely have a loyal and dedicated fan base of alumni,” Reich said.

Reich said Kehres seems happy to remain a big fish in a small pond or, in his case, Orca, the Killer Whale in a small pond. Reich said Kehres also is the Mount Union athletic director. I told him UNLV needs one of those, too. His son is the defensive coordinator, Reich said. I told him UNLV really needs one of those.

“Wanna ask him yourself?” Reich said, mentioning that Kehres was walking down the hall that very minute with a box of doughnuts for his assistants.

Actually, I made up the part about the doughnuts, which would make this story even more Division III-like, but Reich put down the phone and said he would bring Kehres to it.

As I said, you gotta love Division III. I doubt I could have called Urban Meyer down at Florida or Joe Paterno up at Penn State and gotten them on the phone on Thursday afternoon less than 48 hours before the Alabama or Ohio State games.

Alas, Kehres respectfully declined to be interviewed. He didn’t want anything he might say to be construed as angling for somebody’s job. But he told Reich to tell me he was flattered that somebody in Las Vegas even knew his name.

Then he went back to preparing for the big game against Otterbein.

Ron Kantowski can be reached at 259-4088 or at [email protected]. Read his blog, “Now and Then,” at lasvegassun.com/nowandthen.

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  1. if Sanford goes 6-6..give him another shot..5-7, well idk..but if next season, the worst they can be with sanford keepn his job should be 6-6.

  2. Sanford has had enough time. The only time that is left is time for him to leave. It doesn't matter what happens in the next few games. And, by the way, Air Force is a quality team in our conference and we don't compete with the quality teams in our conference. We don't compete well with teams out of our conference either such as RENO who own Sanford. Does 0-5 make you feel good all over. If it does then you are not a Rebel Fan. One other important stat to remember on Saturday. We don't win very much on the road in conference. Let me get my calculator and add up those conference road victories....1. One conference road victory in 5 years.

    We need to give ourselves a chance and look for a different coaching strategy. Hire a good Assistant AD from the PAC-10 or other winning/large conference. Fire Sanford and let the search for a real coach begin.

    I've seen Kehres name mentioned several times mostly by one poster. The guy is a legend in Division III. The thing that I worry about is does he know how to recruit or does he know anybody that knows how to recruit. There are no scholorships in Div. III and therefore no recruitment.

  3. If UNLV fires its current football coach and hires the one currently being proposed as head coach what kind of salary, perks, retirement benefits and buy out conract will he get? Will this guy be treated like a premadonna like John "The Loser" Robinson was and given a very, very handsom salary and related benefits?

    Robinson had a big name as a coach and was highly touted as a real winner, but turned out to b a real loser for UNLV; he, however, laughed all the way to the bank and continues to laugh at the stupidity of the folks, alumni and others in support of UNLV football.

    Will the next coach also join UNLV and rob the state retirement fund like the others of the past?

  4. Please leave Larry Kehres alone.....we like him at Mount Union. And, for those of you who don't think he can recruit, take that notion away. Mount's roster includes players from 17 states; and, they're all coming to play without the incentive of athletic dollars. They want to play for a winner, and for Kehres.

  5. I love the guy that thinks Sanford should get another shot. Have you watched him coach? Do you know anything about football at all? I have been quietly sitting on the sidelines for 5 years waiting for one aspect of this team to improve and that is the coaching. I cut him slack because he had never been a head coach. Alas here we are and the man still has no clue. Call time out to take a delay of game, call time out to punt, call time out to run a fake punt. Nowhere in America can you watch such disgraceful unpreparedness in football. The man has all week to prepare for the game, yet as soon as we get in the red zone everyone panics and doesn't know what play to run. I could go on and on about game and time management, but it is not worth it. He doesn't know how to prepare for a game, he has no game plan(evident by running the same plays over and over instead of attacking the opponents weakness. He has no clue about defense and hires idiots that can't get players on the field or call the defense before the opponent snaps the ball. Bottom line is he is a nice guy who can't judge talent as proven by his new recruits, and can't manage a game. Get rid of him now as he has shown no improvement, forget about the team. They will never be a winning team under Sanford.

  6. Just as long as he can beat UNR.

  7. Who really knows what will happen with the coaching situation but this I do know is that 99.9% of real Rebel fans want Sanford gone. I don't know anything about Larry Kehres but it sounds like he knows what he is doing. I said after the Wyoming loss that perhaps the best place to look for a HC is at the D2 level. There are some great coaches at that level that know how to prepare, know personell, and know X's & O's. Jim Tressell came from D2 right into Ohio State and never missed a step. I would give Larry a shot if he wanted to come here, he would be leaps and bounds ahead of Sanford. Heck bring his son and coach this defense!!

  8. Regardless of how this season ends, Sanford has lost to in-state rival 5 times, averages way below .500, has no bowl game in 5 years, and has erroded fan/almuni support. Unsatisfactory performance by any measure.

    I'm sure a long list of viable candidates could be made very quickly. The only problem is that the fastest (and perhaps only) way to turn the program around is to head-hunt a well-known coach whose reputation alone will recruit top-notch athletes. And that costs money.

  9. DIII? Seriously? Might as well get Darwin Rost from Palo Verde or any other local HS football coach for that matter. DIII? Don't make me laugh.

  10. I agree with lvsreader. It takes money to make money. Opening up the purse strings to lure a proven, big-time coach (who's not close to retirement like John Robinson was) is probably the university's best bet at turning the football program around right away. Name recognition alone could attract the kind of recruits this team so desperately needs.

    Unfortunately, that's probably not going to happen for two reasons. One, UNLV can't afford it. Two, what prominent D-I coach is going to want to come here? They'd either have to be crazy, or do it for the sheer challenge of taking a bottom feeder and turning it into a trophy fish.

    So, once again, we're left to roll the dice, chance it on some relatively unproven assistant coordinator coming off a productive season, and hope he turns out to be the real deal.

    Even in Las Vegas, some bets are just too risky.

  11. BetOnBlack, two things:
    1) Tressel came from I-AA Youngstown State not D-II.
    2) Tressel has a very good coaching pedigree, his father was the coach at D-III Baldwin-Wallace College and posted a lot of wins and a national title and Jim Tressel himself won four national titles in 15 years at YSU. A major reason why he was picked up by OSU was b/c of his success at YSU and for his previous time as a positions coach at Ohio State from 1983-85 and numerous assistant stops throughout Division I-A (FBS). So he had great success at the D-I level before heading to OSU (Yes I-AA or FCS is still Division I).

    On Sanford, he needs to go. For five years he has been blown out by Reno and for the past two years he took a very talented team with bowl game potential and has turned them into (likely) two 5-7 disapointments. The only problem is there isn't much money being pumped into the football program for the team to get a good coach or even a coordinator/assistant coach from a school with a great football program.

  12. Ten of Kehres' 21 defeats and two of the three ties took place in his first 4 seasons at Mount Union. Since 1990 - 19 seasons- Kehres has lost 11 and tied 1. Even the good ones need time to build a program.

    And if you believe that the level of football played at Mount Union is comparable to a high school....well, let's just say your ignorance is showing.

  13. I still think UNLV should consider Jim Fassel....as soon as the UFL folds in a couple of months.

  14. Sufferin_Succotash; where are ya? I know you came up with a solid list of candidates. What do you think of this Kehres guy? Can he foot it in Divison I?

  15. I respect Ron Kantowski for the concept of this write up. What more clever way to create the climate that shows there is hope for a new coaching staff.

    If Kehres can win, it will turn the program around. A big name coach is simply apart of the marketing that is needed for UNLV.

    Abig name coach may balance out the cons that exist for top atheletes. I would consider playing flag football at the park under a coach with the name of Steve Mariucci and the likes of. Partially because as a recruit I may believe that a big time coach can get me to the next level because of NFL allies and such.

    A win is a win even if you have no coach. However a program is a machine that includes marketing and sales of a product, in this case UNLV football.

    I am so happy there was a small paragraph about Herring. Keep him happy before he starts Quaking in Oregan.
    The Red Shirt Freshman make me excited for what is to come.

  16. One thing I think that we all can agree on is that the Sanford experiment is as big of a bust as the Beas Hamga experiment. For 40+ years whatever UNLV has been doing it hasn't worked beyond 1 year wonders here and there and somebody needs to step up with some stones and put people in place that are going to succeed. Any coach that is in the college ranks be it wherever they are from that has a pedigree of winning will win at UNLV because it is in their DNA, winners win that is what they do!! I cannot stomach to see Sanford walk our sidelines any longer.

  17. I don't know anything about Larry Kehres and I don't want to know anything about Larry Kehres.

    UNLV doesn't need to give anyone an opportunity. We don't need to take any chances on the unproven. We need to suck it up and pay a real salary for a REAL COACH. I am talking $1 million to $1.5 million dollars to hire a proven WINNER at the Division I-A (FBS) Level.

    I am against UNLV hiring any High School, Division II or Division III coaches. We are not the school to take a chance on these guys. San Jose State or Idaho is where these guys should cut their teeth, not at UNLV. We just need to man up and pay a real salary to hire a REAL COACH.

    Click on my link for a serious list of coaches that UNLV should go after. Larry Kehres is not on the list.


  18. Here's a name that will get the job done:

    Dirk Koetter. Former Boise St. and ASU HC and current Jax Jags OC.

  19. Idaho has a Coach who is taking them to a bowl game who is a former D Coordinator. Cutting your teeth - they beat CSU and SDSU already?

    Koetter would be great. The guy gets it and was great at Boise. He would be a huge improvement.

    Butch Jones at Central Michigan would be great - 16-11 in 3 seasons with 3 straight bowl appearances.

    Sanford needs to go and we have to get a proven Head Coach to take over the reigns.

    When service academies can out recruit you and have better success what is missing?


    That is what we will see this weekend against Air Force. Guys that UNLV did not want as a 17 point favorite - says it all about UNLV.

    In the meantime - Bill MOOS has got to be hired as AD!

  20. When is Sanford's contract up? I'd hate to see him bought out while we're still paying for John Robinson's buyout.

    That's like being upside down on your car loan and rolling it over into a new car loan. Bad idea all around.

  21. Reb4Life-

    Question...how dumb are you? "No scholarships equals no recruitment." What in the hell are you talking about? How in the world would it be EASIER to recruit kids when part of your pitch is, "Oh by the way, the school costs $28,000 a year and we don't offer athletic scholarships"? Great logical argument there.

    To call Larry Kehres "unproven" as many of you have is ridiculous. 284-21-3 with 10 National Titles. If that's "unproven" I'd like to know what "proven" is.

    By the way, you can forget this anyway. He's turned down a handful of Division I jobs...better offers than a has been, near never was program with clearly delusional fans. He won't want yours.

  22. Allow me to bring everyone back down to reality. Why are any of us actually believing that unlv is going to make a smart decision concerning the football program? Why are we getting all worked up over something that isn't going to happen? Look at the track record, & history of this program and you will know what unlv is going to do already. UNLV is going to hire some no name stiff from Bafoon State as the AD who will in turn hire another no name stiff from Shmuck State as our new head football coach. Why should we believe that this time around is going to be anything different then the previous 40+ years? Forget about Larry Kehres he would never leave his current job for this crappy program and furthermore who is actually going to come to this city and do something that has never been done? The university will never pay out top coach salary that is why we always get the (coaches) crumbs that fall off of someone elses plate. I just don't see it happening in any of our lifetimes because there has never been a commitment from this university to prove it otherwise!

  23. Fire Sanford

    UNLV !!! Make up your mind

    Become a Div 3 school and compete and become a winner------ Hire Larry
    Commit the MONEY and get REAL and WIN in Div 1 and reach for the Championship not counting the money in BCS BOWL Games--Get the city behind you for once!!--Hire a former NFL Coach with a Super Bowl WIN--this will attract the kids who all want to play in the NFL---You will compete for kids everywhere i/c Florida and Texas( note the top 10 BCS rankings)

    The hiring is young energetic and a Winner --CHUCKY!!1 -JON GRUDEN


  24. Heck we don't even know if Sanford is going to be fired anyways. We all are talking as if he is already gone. The last time I checked he was still coach and Koloskie was still AD. We don't even know what is going to happen with either of the two. Watch them both end up staying, it wouldn't surpirse me at all.

  25. Hire the guy from Shmuck State.

  26. 2 words: Rollie Massimino....

    Another loser at UNLV that would cost us more than it's was worth.

  27. go rebels,
    you said i said he should get a chance i meant he will get a chance from UNLV if he goes 6-6..sorry i didnt type it right

  28. Put yourself in the players shoes for once.How would you feel if you were a player on the feild,on your home terf,and you looked up week after week in the stands,and see more of the others teams colors than your own?Still think its the coach,team or the non fans,because they dont want their cars to get dirty?

  29. How about Dom Capers?

  30. @rumrunner

    Then they need to transfer or they shouldn't have come to UNLUV'D in the 1st place!!

  31. donot wait to long to get koetter he turned down two head coaching jobs lastyear and did i hear ku might be looking at guess who