TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State’s Coordinator of Football Operations, John Sanders, has had a remarkable career. “It’s been a tremendous ride,” Sanders stated.
Sanders first got into coaching in 1976 when he joined the Boise State coaching staff as a wide receiver coach. After a few stints in the USFL, Sanders worked his way up to the NFL ranks, where he coached tight ends for the Houston Oilers.
After coaching under the bright lights of the NFL, Sanders made the transition to high school football and eventually took over as head coach of the Saguaro Sabercats. He went on to win an unprecedented five state championships over a six year span.“I look back, and really, every one of those years has been different,” Sanders said. “The relationships I formed with those kids from Saguaro High School; they will be there for life.
And his former players on the Arizona State roster could not be happier to have their former coach on the staff.
“It’s awesome having him down here.” sophomore running back DJ Foster proclaimed. “When I’m feeling down or tired of getting beat up and I’m having a tough day I definitely go in and talk to him and he definitely picks me up and keeps me motivated.”
“It’s nice having him to talk to," senior center Kody Koebensky said. “He has been through the NFL and college, all that stuff. He has been through it. He knows us; he built a relationship before we got here so it is just nice to have him to talk to about certain stuff.”
Head Coach Todd Graham also cherishes the opportunity to have a football guru like Coach Sanders to turn to.
“The biggest thing that he brings is that experience you're talking about," head coach Todd Graham stated. “He has very versatile experience at all different levels, and he's a guy who is going to be a big impact to us in the scouting standpoint in identifying players in the future. And just his expertise and wisdom that he brings; he is a great asset to our program.”
Coach Sanders has been a member of the Arizona State coaching staff for a little over a year now. Since joining the Sun Devils, one moment sticks out to Coach Sanders a little more than others.
“I can tell you that one of the most fun things was going down to Tucson and playing a team in all red, which we have seen before, and going down and handling them the way we did in Tucson and winning that territorial cup. That was a big win for this program and was a lot of fun for us to do," Sanders exclaimed.