Alumni corner: Centaurus’ Sanders climbs coaching ladder at Utah State

For a guy who is only 25, Dillon Sanders has built a fairly robust football resume.

But when he reaches his eventual long-term coaching destination, his newest gig might be what’s remembered as the beginning of the road for the former Centaurus quarterback.

Sanders recently earned a spot on the Utah State football staff as a graduate assistant coach. He’ll primarily coach the Aggies’ safeties and help recruit while he gains his master’s degree in education and coaching.

“My role is very similar to any other coach,” Sanders said. “It’s just a matter of how they structure how they pay you. For me, they pay for my master’s and give me a stipend for the two years I’m here. That’s how they take care of me.

“Otherwise, I do the same things as any other coach. It’s just a different title type of thing.”

Utah State is coming off a keynote 2012 season, in which the Aggies went 11-2 (including an unscathed 6-0 mark in the Western Athletic Conference) and won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 41-15 against Toledo.

Sanders’ gateway to the program was Utah State cornerbacks coach Kendrick Shaver, who had been a defensive backs coach at Northern Colorado while Sanders was a student assistant with the Bears.

“He knew I was looking around for this type of thing, so when he reached out it was just good timing, I guess,” Sanders said.

Sanders played quarterback at Black Hill State and Colorado Mines before transferring to UNC and earning his degree in finance. He then latched on with the Bears and former head coach Scott Downing as a volunteer assistant, which got him on the coaching path.

He then served a five-year stint as the offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator of the Colorado Ice, and Indoor Football League team.

His mother, Bev Sanders, remains the volleyball coach at Centaurus. His sister, Evan, was a standout volleyball player at Washington and now is playing professionally overseas.

At Utah State, Sanders is among four graduate assistants, two on each side of the ball.

“Our defensive coordinator (Todd Orlando) also is a safeties coach, so by bringing me in, it kind of frees him up a little bit and allows him to focus on the whole defense,” Sanders said.

Odds are, after his two-year stint at Utah State, Sanders will be able to broaden his focus as well.

Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21