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NCF Nation: Marvin Sanders

Kiffin makes coaching hires official

February, 17, 2012
More of a formality at this point, but USC head coach Lane Kiffin officially announced Marvin Sanders and Scottie Hazelton as coaches. Kiffin initially told recruits at USC's Junior Day over the weekend that Sanders and Hazelton had been hired.

Sanders will serve as secondary coach and Hazelton will coach linebackers.

“Marvin had great success coaching the defensive backs at Nebraska and we believe that will translate well to our secondary, which is the most critical area we need to improve upon in 2012," Kiffin said in a statement. "Scottie is coming to us after helping North Dakota State win the NCAA FCS championship and coordinating a defense that led the nation in scoring defense in 2011, after it was 90th in that category before he took it over just two years ago.”

In December, Sanders, 44, was hired as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Florida Atlantic. Prior to that he spent three years as Nebraska's defensive backs coach.

Hazelton, 38, spent the past five seasons (2007-11) at North Dakota State, the first three handling the defensive line and the past two as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Here's the full release, with a note that Kiffin expects to announce another assistant coach hiring soon, which is presumed to be Tee Martin as the wide receivers coach.

Big Ten assistant coach updates

February, 7, 2011
Several Big Ten teams are still filling out their staffs for 2011, and we'll hear an official announcement or two later Monday.

Here's a roundup of what's been happening the last few days:


The Hoosiers on Friday announced the hiring of Brandon Shelby as cornerbacks coach. Shelby, who previously held the same position at Louisiana-Monroe, starred as a defensive back at Oklahoma during IU coach Kevin Wilson's time there and also served as a Sooners' defensive assistant in 2006. Shelby replaces Corey Raymond, who left Indiana to take a position at Nebraska. Although Nebraska hasn't made an official announcement about Raymond, he's expected to replace secondary coach Marvin Sanders, who resigned Thursday.

Indiana also last week hired Nebraska defensive assistant Brett Diersen as defensive tackles coach and Air Force running backs coach Jemal Singleton to the same position. Diersen replaces Jerry Montgomery, who Wilson said left for a position at Michigan.

These appointments complete Wilson's staff for 2011.


So far, Sanders' resignation is the only official announcement Bo Pelini has made about his staff. But Wilson said Raymond is on his way to Lincoln, and all signs point to offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and receivers coach Ted Gilmore being on their way out. Nebraska's offensive production dipped toward the end of the 2010 season, and the Huskers' receivers had an up-and-down year.

Multiple media reports from Nebraska state that Pelini might be targeting Oregon receivers coach Scott Frost, the former Huskers' star quarterback, and Notre Dame offensive line coach Ed Warinner as replacements. Warinner served as Kansas' offensive coordinator from 2007-09 and spent time in the Big Ten as Illinois' offensive line coach and run game coordinator from 2005-06.

The interesting part of this is Pelini reportedly will hand over play-calling duties to running backs coach Tim Beck. The Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald both report that Frost might not leave Oregon unless it's for a job as a play-caller elsewhere.

Pelini seems to be reshaping his staff before Nebraska's jump to the Big Ten. It will be fascinating to see how things play out in Lincoln.


Coach Brady Hoke will finalize his staff Monday and announce the defensive assistants to join coordinator Greg Mattison.

Montgomery is on his way to Ann Arbor, and he'll reportedly be joined by Akron defensive coordinator Curt Mallory on the Michigan staff. Expect Mallory to coach the Wolverines' secondary, while Montgomery will work with the defensive line. Mallory played at Michigan and has spent his entire coaching career in the Midwest, serving as Illinois' secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator from 2007-09. Montgomery played at Iowa and most recently served as Wyoming's defensive line coach.


After promoting Dan Roushar to offensive coordinator last week, Mark Dantonio reportedly has found the final member of his staff.

According to The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun, Central Michigan receivers coach Terry Samuel has left to take the same position on Michigan State's staff. Samuel, who played wide receiver at Purdue, worked his way up through the FCS ranks before joining former Dantonio assistant Dan Enos at Central Michigan last year.

He'll coach the position group that previous Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell oversaw. Samuel inherits a deep and talented receiving corps led by B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin.


The Badgers lost a key assistant over the weekend as running backs coach John Settle departed for the same position with the Carolina Panthers. Settle did an outstanding job with Wisconsin's running backs, helping to mold standout players like P.J. Hill, John Clay, James White and Montee Ball.

Although Wisconsin always recruits talented backs, Settle leaves some big shoes to fill. It will be interesting to see who coach Bret Bielema hires as his replacement.
Nebraska announced secondary coach Marvin Sanders was resigning on Thursday afternoon.

Huskers signee Charles Jackson, an ESPNU 150 member and the only cornerback in the 2011 class, found out on Facebook from a stranger on Thursday morning, according to a report by Dirk Chatelain in the Omaha World-Herald.
Thursday night at 8, Jackson still hadn't heard from Sanders, Bo Pelini or anyone else at Nebraska.

“I think they should've told me before I signed,” Jackson said. “I didn't have any idea. They broke the guy code.”

Jackson, one of the nation's top cornerback recruits, looked forward to playing for Sanders, the former Blackshirt whose secondaries the past two years ranked among the best in the country.

Jackson hadn't spoken to Sanders in about three weeks, but Sanders talked to Jackson's dad “about two days ago,” Charles said.

Here's a bit more background on the circumstances surrounding Sanders' resignation on Thursday.

Jackson says he still would have come to Nebraska if he had been informed of Sanders' departure beforehand, but admitted that he didn't "think that was right" and he wanted to know "out of respect."

I get the other side of the argument here from Nebraska's perspective. The circumstances around any coach's departure are going to be sensitive. In Sanders' case, reports indicate it may be especially sensitive.

Additionally, if a coach doesn't know his status but his boss does, it's equally questionable ethics to ask a recruit to keep that kind of a secret from a coach who is recruiting him.

It's an awkward line for sure, and one with a ton of room for debate. It's easy to be sympathetic to both sides. Both are in difficult spots. Was it right or wrong not to tell Jackson that his position coach was leaving? I don't think enough details are definitively known to make any sort of black or white distinction in that area.

But this is no longer about Bo Pelini's sometimes contentious relationship with the media, a topic that resurfaced during Wednesday's awkward teleconference when reporters asked Pelini directly about Sanders' future at Nebraska and he declined to answer.

This is about his relationship with recruits, their families and their coaches, relationships that are infinitely more important to the program than those with persons who cover the team.

I can't speak to the prevalence of negative recruiting in the Big Ten, but if coaches wanted to employ the tactic, situations like this certainly provide ammunition, especially for a coach readying for the fourth year of his first head-coaching job, still gaining a reputation for how his program operates.

It's easy to lose details that complicate the situation like I mentioned earlier when time and distance from the incident grows.

There are still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding Nebraska's coaching staff, but Jackson's comments on Thursday night answer one of the biggest ones.

The answer to why Jackson wasn't told will have a lot to do with how much those relationships are damaged moving forward.

Nebraska secondary coach resigns

February, 3, 2011
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini declined to answer questions about his staff during his signing day teleconference on Wednesday, but on Thursday, he announced in a release that Marvin Sanders had resigned for "personal and family reasons."

Questions first arose on Wednesday after Indiana coach Kevin Wilson announced that his assistant, Corey Raymond, was leaving to coach the secondary at Nebraska.

Nebraska, however, still employed Sanders at the time. Now, presumably, Raymond might soon be announced as Sanders' replacement.

Pelini declined to answer questions about Sanders' status on Wednesday, but the Lincoln Journal Star reported later in the day that Sanders "may face disciplinary action by the school for a nonfootball issue."

For Nebraska, Sanders might only be the first of a few assistants to leave Pelini's staff after signing 20 recruits on Wednesday.

Sanders, along with offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, receivers coach Ted Gilmore and Pelini, did not make their annual appearance at a recruiting dinner in Omaha on Wednesday night.

It should be a very interesting few weeks before spring practice begins in Lincoln.

Posted by's Tim Griffin

Bo Pelini's new contract received much of the buzz Monday as the Cornhuskers' second-year coach received a hike that will push his yearly contract to $1.851 million per season.

Lost in that fanfare was the 22.2 percent boost that Nebraska assistant coaches received in the new deal.

The highest-paid assistant will be offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, who will receive a whopping 66.7 percent increase from last season. Watson's new yearly salary will be hiked to $375,000,according to figures obtained by the Lincoln Journal Star. It will make Watson the highest-paid assistant coach in Nebraska football history.

Here's a look at the salaries of Pelini's staff for the 2009 season.

Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson                                   $375,000

Defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Carl Pelini           $208,360

Running backs coach Tim Beck                                           $208,360

Tight ends coach Ron Brown                                               $208,360

Offensive line coach/associate head coach Barney Cotton      $208,360

Wide receivers coach/assistant head coach Ted Gilmore        $208,360

Secondary coach Marvin Sanders                                        $208,360

Linebackers coach Mike Ekeler                                            $150,000

Defensive ends coach John Papuchis                                   $150,000

The collective package will pay Nebraska assistants a total of $1,925,160 -- the highest collective total ever paid to Nebraska assistant coaches. The school said the assistants' new salaries rank sixth among Big 12 teams.

Posted by's Tim Griffin

With several teams taking off for spring break this week and most of the Big 12's attention diverted to the basketball tournaments, it would be easy to turn away from football.

But not here, where lunchtime links are a daily obsession.

Enjoy them.