Gophers hire co-offensive coordinators to take over for Kirk Ciarrocca

That didn’t take long.

Two days after upsetting Auburn in the Outback Bowl and just over a week after losing offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca to Penn State, Gophers coach P.J. Fleck hired Matt Simon and Mike Sanford Jr. as his co-offensive coordinators.

Simon is the Gophers’ wide receivers coach and called the offensive plays in the Gophers’ 31-24 victory over Auburn in Tampa, Fla. Simon will continue to coach the wide receivers while working with Sanford Jr.

Sanford, 37, has 15 years of coaching experience on his resume and has extensive experience calling plays and coaching quarterbacks. He comes to Minnesota from Utah State where he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2019. Before his time at Utah State, Sanford was the head coach at Western Kentucky from 2017-18.

Sanford was also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame (2015-16) and at Boise State (2014). He has also spent time at Stanford from 2011-13 where in different roles he coached quarterbacks, receivers, running backs and also was the recruiting coordinator.

He was the passing game coordinator and coached quarterbacks at Western Kentucky in 2010 after being the tight ends and fullbacks coach at Yale in 2009. He also was the recruiting coordinator.

Sanford was an offensive assistant and worked with quarterbacks at Stanford in 2007-08. He got his coaching start at UNLV where he was a graduate assistant who worked with specialists and quarterbacks from 2005-06. Sanford, who is from Lexington, Va., graduated from Boise State in 2005 with a degree in political science. He played quarterback for the Broncos from 2000-04.