Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 | 1:40 p.m.
Former New Mexico State coach Tony Samuel has joined UNLV’s staff as defensive line coach, Rebels coach Tony Sanchez announced today.
Samuel has had a long coaching career, notably helping his alma mater, Nebraska, win a pair of national championships from 1986-96 before taking his first head-coaching job, at New Mexico State (1997-04), then serving an eight-year stint leading Southeast Missouri State (2006-13). He comes to Las Vegas after spending two seasons at Georgia State, coaching first the outside linebackers and then the defensive line.
“I’ve known Tony Samuel since 1997 and we have had a long-lasting relationship,” Sanchez said in a statement. “He’s a tremendous football coach with a proven track record of success and we are fortunate to have him at UNLV.”
Georgia State’s defense made big improvements in 2015, which helped lead the Panthers to the first bowl game in the history of the program, which started only five years earlier. In 2010, Samuel was named the Eddie Robinson Award winner for best coach in Division I-AA after leading Southeast Missouri State to a 9-3 record and its first NCAA playoff berth in program history.
“I have stayed in touch with Tony since we first met when I was taking over at New Mexico State and there is a lot of familiarity with a lot of people on the staff,” Samuel said in a statement. “I am excited about the potential of what can happen at UNLV and looking forward to being a part of it.”
Samuel, a defensive end who was a part of legendary coach Tom Osborne’s first recruiting class, took over at New Mexico State two seasons after Sanchez’s playing career ended. Samuel replaces Joe Seumalo, who left after one season at UNLV to take the same position at Arizona State.
The Rebels begin spring practice on Monday, March 7, at Rebel Park. The Spring Showcase is scheduled for noon Saturday, April 9, at Peter Johann Memorial Soccer Field.