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UNLV hires Tony Sanchez as head coach to a four-year, $2 million contract

UNLV is taking a gamble by hiring a high school coach to take over its program.

UNLV football found its head coach in its own backyard in Bishop Gorman's Tony Sanchez, the school announced on Wednesday. Sanchez will officially be introduced at a 1 p.m. PT press conference on Thursday.

The two sides agreed to a four-year contract worth $500,000 per year with only the Board of Regents needing to approve the contract, and they have a special meeting on Tuesday to go over the contract. Sanchez's deal includes $250,000 in base pay and $125,00 each for media and public appearances.

The Rebels are making a bold hire by brining a high school coach who has little experience coaching at the college level. He was a graduate assistant who coached the wide receivers at New Mexico State in 1996. At Bishop Gorman he led the program to six consecutive state titles and is the nation's top team this year.

A few reasons that UNLV hired Sanchez is because of his success at the highest level, he would not cost a lot of money and then a factor some outside of Las Vegas may not know and that is his relationship with Lorenzo Fertitta. Fertitta is the CEO of UFC, runs Stations Casinos, attended Bishop Gorman and Fertitta's son played football there.

Sanchez has political ties which could help get UNLV an on-campus stadium and also make critical improvements to the football facilities.

Back to the contract. UNLV set up Sanchez's contract to be full of incentives, and the Las Vegas Review Journal goes through those potential bonuses.

- $30,000 for 11 victories in a season, $25,000 for 10, $20,000 for nine, $15,000 for eight and $10,000 for seven.

- $100,000 for appearing in a New Year's Six bowl, $25,000 for making the Las Vegas Bowl, $20,000 for playing in the Poinsettia Bowl and $10,000 for any other bowl.

- $25,000 for winning the Mountain West championship, $10,000 for being ranked in the final coaches' poll and $10,000 for being named conference Coach of the Year.

- $25,000 for appearing in a Saturday game on ESPN or ESPN2 and $15,000 for playing on a weekday game on one of those networks.

- $25,000 for achieving a one-year Academic Progress Rate of 960, $15,000 for a 955 multiyear APR and $5,000 for each academic All-American. (A team must achieve a minimum four-year APR average of 930 to be eligible for the postseason, which was UNLV's score before last season.)

- $10,000 for every 5,000 in additional season-ticket sales over the previous year.

Former UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck was earning $700,000 and with this Sanchez deal at $500,000 per year, and this makes this a low this is a low-risk high reward with a 40-year-old coach who is young and hungry to succeed.

The other end of the contract is the buyout. Sanchez receives the remainder of his $250,000 base salary through the end of his contract if UNLV fires him. He could take a lump-sum payment of $500,000 if the termination occurs by June 30, 2017, or $250,000 if it's after that date.

Should Sanchez leave for another job before Dec. 15, 2016, he would owe UNLV $1 million, or $750,000 after that date.