BOULDER - Danny Sanchez, who led Metro State to a pair of NCAA Division II National Championships last decade, has been named the third head coach in the history of the University of Colorado women's soccer program, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Monday.
Sanchez, 42, just completed his fourth season at the University of Wyoming, where he coached the Cowgirls into the Mountain West Conference's championship game. In a coaching career that has spanned 17 years, his teams at Wyoming, Metro State and Mesa Community College, where he coached both the men's and women's programs, his teams have compiled an impressive 267-60-23 record.
"Coach Sanchez possesses an exceptional level of integrity along with a dynamic passion for soccer that will resonate well with our student-athletes on many levels," Bohn said. "His coaching style, strong leadership characteristics, and regional and national coaching accomplishments are a perfect fit for our university in providing a solid foundation for long term success."
"I am honored and most appreciative of Mike Bohn, Ceal Barry, Julie Manning and the rest of the search committee," Sanchez said. "My family and I are excited to join the Colorado Buffaloes family. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me professionally, and myself and my staff will do everything we can to make the Buff Nation proud of the soccer program."
"My time at the University of Wyoming was special," Sanchez said. "The people, the University of Wyoming and really the entire state treated me and my family better than I ever could have expected. We had some very good success and I believe the program will continue to move forward and be successful in the future."
Wyoming posted its best record in school history this past fall, 12-6-4, including a 3-1-2 mark in conference play for a third-place regular season finish, outscoring its opponents 30-19 along the way. After an 0-3 start, Wyoming allowed just 12 goals in its final 19 games, with one of the wins a 1-0 verdict over Colorado in Boulder on August 28. In the Mountain West Conference tournament, the Cowgirls defeated Boise State and TCU before losing 1-0 to New Mexico in the championship game.
Sanchez replaces Bill Hempen, who was just the second head coach in CU's program history but stepped down from the position on November 16. In 11 seasons, his teams posted a 114-88-28 overall record and earned all six of the team's NCAA tournament appearances. Austin Daniels piloted the program its first five years of existence, with his teams posting a 36-53-5 mark.
Colorado was 4-13-2 this season, its inaugural campaign in the Pac-12 Conference, finishing with a 1-9-1 mark in league games and tying Arizona for 11th place. CU's lone conference win was impressive, a 1-0 verdict over No. 15 California in Berkeley; however, that was the only win in the season's final nine games. There were five seniors on the team, which returns 15 letterwinners for the 2012 squad.
In four seasons at Wyoming, Sanchez' teams compiled a 36-34-11 record, with his second team in 2009 going 9-8-3, the first winning record at the school in four years. He coached eight All-Mountain West Conference performers and all four of his Cowgirl teams were recognized by The National Soccer Coaches Association of America for having at least a 3.0 team grade point average.
Sanchez was hired by Wyoming in 2007 after posting an impressive 128-11-7 record (a 90.1 winning percentage) in six seasons as the head women's coach at Denver's Metro State College. He coached the Roadrunners to Division II national titles in 2004 and 2006, also reaching the Final Four in 2002 and the Elite Eight five times. His Metro teams also claimed five Midwest Region Championships.
At Metro State, the Roadrunners won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championship, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament all six seasons he was at the helm; he was also named the RMAC's Coach of the Year all six years. Sanchez was the 2004 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year, was a four-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year and named the RMAC's All-Time Top Coach.
Under his guidance, Metro State established two of the most impressive records in Division II history during his time there: a 59-game unbeaten streak (58-0-1) and 61 consecutive home wins. MSC produced two Division II National Players of the Year and 14 NSCAA All-Americans in his tenure at the school.
Prior to taking over at Metro, Sanchez served as the head men's and women's soccer coach at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College from 1995-2002. In eight seasons, he led the women's team to a 103-15-5 (.858) overall record and the men to a 96-36-7 (.716) mark, producing 12 All-Americans in that span between the two. The women won four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region I Championships and five Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Championships. In 2001, he was the ACCAC and NJCAA Region I Men's and Women's Coach of the Year, as well as the NSCAA Junior College Central Region Coach of the Year. He also won the NJCAA Region I Women's Coach of the Year award in 1996 and 1999.
Sanchez has been very active in coaching around the Rocky Mountain region. He has served as a staff coach and licensing instructor for the Colorado State Youth Soccer Association and has also worked as a coach for U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV staff. Sanchez holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) "A" License, a USSF National Youth License, an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a KNVB Dutch Advanced Certificate.
After graduating from Scottsdale's (Ariz.) Coronado High School, where he lettered in soccer, football and baseball, he began his collegiate career at nearby Mesa CC. He eventually transferred to the University of Connecticut and led the Huskies to the 1989 Big East Conference Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth, ranking in the New England Region's top 10 in scoring that season. Following his collegiate career, he played in the Western Soccer League for the Arizona Condors and in the U.S.I.S.L. for the Arizona Cotton.
Sanchez earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Connecticut in 1991. He is married to the former Beth Strohm, and the couple has two sons, Cole (12) and Drew (9).