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Buffs hire Sanchez

December 20, 2011 | 7:57 am No comments
By Shaun Schafer

CU’s soccer future just got a lot brighter.

On Monday, the University of Colorado lured Danny Sanchez back to the Front Range to take over an underachieving Buffs team that stumbled badly in its first season in the Pac 12.

Sanchez, who spent the past several years turning the University of Wyoming into a winning program, has a history of winning at every level. He also has a history of taking teams that should be better and making them better.

Exhibit 1: When Sanchez arrived at Metropolitan State College of Denver, he immediately took a team that hadn’t sniffed the playoffs to the NCAA tournament in his first year. His first squad started an ongoing string of 10 consecutive tournament bids for the Roadrunners.

Exhibit 2: While at Metro State, the Roadrunners set a Division II winning streak and won national titles in 2004 and 2006. Prior to Sanchez’s arrival in Denver, the best Metro State could boast was a third-place finish in the NAIA in the mid-’80s.

Exhibit 3: In the battle to recruit talent to Laramie, Sanchez was winning. His 2011 team at Wyoming boasted a 9-8-3 record, which included wins over CU and Northern Colorado.

Past Fades: Wyoming’s success came as CU folded in the Pac 12. Head coach Bill Hempen resigned at the end of the 2011 season after watching his team give up in games on the road and at home.

It’s tough to fault Hempen, who kept coaching with a fury that got him ejected at home late in the season. Still, his team was mired in a losing rut that it seemed incapable of escaping.

Going Forward: Picking up Sanchez, 42, gives the Buffs an excellent chance to start winning now. The university is to be commended for bringing a great, albeit gruff, coach back to the Front Range.

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