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Willie Sanchez (middle) at the 2009 NAIA Football National Championship
Courtesy: USF Athletics

USF Athletic Director William Sanchez to Retire

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 06/28/2012
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University of Sioux Falls athletic director Willie Sanchez announced his plans to retire to media outlets today at the USF Sports Complex. National championships, unimaginable growth and an upcoming move from NAIA to the NCAA DII, make up a legacy USF will never forget. Sanchez closes a 12-year chapter of USF athletics July 31.

"After 44 years in sports it's time for me to move on," said Sanchez. "I felt our athletic department is ready to take over and continue to guide this program in the right direction and it's time for me to spend more time with my family."

Sanchez's time at the helm has been marked by outstanding accomplishments on the gridiron, which featured six football National Championship appearances. From 2006-2010, the Cougars secured five consecutive trips to the title game, claiming the trophy in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Sanchez also presided over a revival of the USF's track and field program. Since 2006, the team has emerged as a national contender, claiming three individual national championships and the program's first conference title.

"Willie has helped define USF athletics," said vice president of student development and assistant track and field coach Gene Brooks. "He was a visionary. His vision of winning and constructing a championship style track and field venue has carried us to where we are today."

Since 2001, the Cougars have tallied 30 post-season berths, 20 titles and 13 conference tournament crowns.

When asked what he most proud of, it wasn't the championship trophies that sat behind him, it was his staff.

"More than anything, I am proud of our coaches," said Sanchez. "I am proud of what they have accomplished to get us to this point."

In addition to his commitment to winning, Sanchez committed to enhancing the student-athlete experience. He has been directly involved in several facility improvements, but his most impactful was the USF Sports Complex, a state of the art Christian based athletic complex.

Most recently, Sanchez played an integral part in the renovation of the Stewart Center. The face-lift will feature a resurfacing and repainting of the court, basketball and volleyball locker-room renovations and additional bleacher installation.

The investment in support to the student-athletes of USF has also been elevated under Sanchez.

"Many of Willie's contributions are not visible in the form of brick and mortar. It is in the coaches and administrators he mentored," said assistant athletic director Kevin Hesser.

"It is the student-athletes that he encouraged to achieve what they didn't know they could. He encouraged student-athletes to achieve more in the classroom and grow closer in their walk with Christ. Willie changed the campus, but more importantly he changed the lives of many USF student-athletes," said Hesser.

Prior to joining USF, Sanchez spent several years in professional baseball. From 1997-02 he was a player agent and served as the vice president of baseball operations for CSMG Sports.

Before CSMG, Sanchez owned Convest Inc. where he also represented several professional baseball players, as well as provided investment advising.

Sanchez enjoyed seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers where he was a two-time minor league executive of the year. During his time in Los Angeles, he served as director and coordinator of the 1980 Major League Baseball All-Star game.

Sanchez received a master's in education from the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical education at the University of Denver.

Current assistant athletic director Kevin Hesser will take over as interim athletic director August 1.

Today's announcement courtesy of KELOLAND.com

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