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Tony Sanchez will return for UNLV, bowl berth set as expectation

Tony Sanchez
UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez will return for a fifth season. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Creative Services)

UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez will return for a fifth season leading the Rebels, athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois announced Thursday morning.

“We are looking forward to a successful 2019 football season including bowl eligibility, continued improvement in the classroom, and as always, a positive student-athlete experience,” Reed-Francois said in a news release. “We have invested more resources than ever into the Rebel football program and will continue exploring every avenue to enable it to be competitive.”

UNLV entered the season with lofty expectations but finished the year 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Mountain West. The Rebels did play half of the season without starting quarterback Armani Rogers, who suffered a football injury, and won two of its final three games, upset victories over San Diego State and rival Nevada. The Rebels completed the biggest comeback in school history in its regular-season finale against Nevada, overcoming a 23-0 deficit to score a 34-29 victory.

Sanchez is 16-32 in four seasons, including 11-21 in MW play. He's yet to reach a bowl game or record a winning record in conference play, although his 33.3 winning percent is higher than Bobby Hauck, the coach he replaced, and Mike Sanford, UNLV's coach before Hauck. Likely playing a part in the decision was the three years left on Sanchez's contract, which pays him $600,000 annually. Sanchez received a three-year extension after the 2016 season. His deal runs through Jan. 31, 2022.

UNLV has invested into its football program in recent years, with Sanchez helping to fund-raise for the $31 million Fertitta Football Complex. The building is expected to be completed in the spring, and UNLV will play in the new Raiders Stadium in Las Vegas starting in 2020.

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