Danny Sanchez enters his sixth season as the head coach of the University of Colorado women’s soccer team in 2017. He was named the third head coach in the history of the program on December 19, 2011.
In five seasons with the Buffaloes, Sanchez has led the team to a 58-38-11 overall record and several program firsts. He already ranks first among the three all-time coaches in winning percentage (.593) and is second in total wins.
In his first season in 2012, the Buffs opened the season with a record-setting three straight shutouts on their way to a 3-0-2 start, marking the first time CU began the season on a five-game unbeaten streak. The team shattered those new records the following year, beginning the season with five straight shutouts and six wins.
It took Sanchez just eight games to record five wins with the program, faster than either of his predecessors. Sanchez has helped the Buffs to an astounding 37-12-3 non-conference record. Over the past four seasons, he has given the Buffs a strong home-field advantage with a 34-10-4 record at Prentup Field, and in 2014, coached a CU defense that only surrendered 10 goals at home in 14 matches. In 2016, the Buffs scored 29 goals in 13 home matches and upset No. 9 UCLA.
The Buffs have also improved in conference play under Sanchez, highlighted by a program best second-place finish in the Pac-12 in 2016. It turned out to be one of CU’s best seasons ever. The Buffs tied the school record for wins in a season, going 15-6-1 overall and 8-2-1 in the Pac-12. The second-place finish was single-season turnaround in Pac-12 history as CU went from 12th place in 2015 to second in 2016, an improvement of 10 places. The Buffs also reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked No. 23, the first time they have been ranked in the final poll since 2008. They were ranked as high as No. 20 during the regular season.
In addition to upsetting No. 9 UCLA at home, Colorado topped No. 10 California on the road during the 2016 season. The team ranked fifth in the Pac-12 in goals per game and in goals-against average, the best finishes since joining the conference. CU opened conference play with a 6-0-0 record, the best start to a conference season in school history, and endured a 10-match winning streak, the second-longest in program history. Sanchez also coached the first two first-team all-Pac-12 players at Colorado in senior Danica Evans and Taylor Kornieck, who was also selected as Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and named a Freshman All-American by Top Drawer Soccer.
CU finished the 2014 season with a 6-4-1 conference mark, the program’s first winning record since it joined the Pac-12 in 2011. In 2012, CU earned its first back-to-back Pac-12 road victories with shutouts over USC and Arizona. In 2013, the Buffs continued their success, doubling their conference wins, and earning their first Pac-12 home victories with back-to-back wins over Oregon State and Oregon.
From Sept. 6, 2013 all the way through to the postseason, Colorado received votes in the weekly NSCAA top-25 poll. CU capped a stellar 2013 campaign with its first 14-win season and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2008. The Buffs matched their best postseason finish, defeating No. 15 Denver and No. 19 BYU on their way to the Sweet 16.
In 2014, Sanchez led the Buffs to their second straight postseason appearance as CU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after defeating 15th-ranked BYU, 2-0, in snowy, frigid conditions at Prentup Field, giving Sanchez his 200th win at the NCAA level. Sanchez also earned his 300th career victory in 2014 when the Buffs defeated Arizona State at home.
In his five seasons with the Buffaloes, CU has won the Colorado Cup four times, finishing the best in a competition among Colorado’s six NCAA Division I colleges and universities. The Buffs have won it in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
Sanchez has continued to help the Buffs to academic excellence, with 38 players earning Pac-12 All-Academic honors and the team earning NSCAA Team Academic Awards each season for averaging a 3.0 grade-point average. CU had won the NSCAA Team Academic Award just once prior to Sanchez’s arrival. Additionally, Hayley Hughes has earned academic honors from both CoSIDA (twice) and the NSCAA, while Lizzy Herzl became the first Buff to receive NSCAA Scholar All-America honors. In 2015, senior Kate Scheele joined Hughes as a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree.
He has coached four players to professional careers. In 2012, Amy Barczuk became just the second Buff to be drafted by a professional team, getting chosen by the Western New York Flash in the second round of the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League Draft. In her rookie season, Barczuk and the Flash went all the way to the championship game. Barczuk became a member of the Boston Breakers in 2014 and was also a volunteer assistant coach under Sanchez. After graduating in 2013, Annie Brunner signed a professional contract with FC Neunkrich of the Switzerland Nationaliga A. Brunner returned to her alma mater in 2015 and serves as the coordinator of performance analysis and camp operations on Sanchez’s staff.
Two more Buffs joined the professional ranks in 2016. Both Bianca Jones and Scheele signed to play for the same team in Sweden’s Ellittan UEFA League. Scheele came back to the United States to play for the Houston Dash of the NWSL in July 2016.
Sanchez’s career spans 21 years with Wyoming, Metro State and Mesa Community College, where he coached both men’s and women’s programs. He has amassed a 325-98-34 (.748) record, including a pair of NCAA Division II national championships while at Metro State. In Division I, his record stands at 94-72-22 (.559).
In his time away from the Centennial State, Sanchez spent four seasons with the University of Wyoming, compiling a 36-34-11 record. In his final season with the Cowgirls, the team posted a 12-6-4 record, its best in school history, including a 3-1-2 record in Mountain West Conference play for a third-place regular season finish. That season, Sanchez was named the MWC Coach of the Year.
After an 0-3 start, Wyoming allowed just 12 goals in its final 19 games, with one of its wins including a 1-0 decision against Colorado in Boulder. In the MWC tournament, the Cowgirls defeated TCU and San Diego State before falling to New Mexico in the championship.
Sanchez gave the Cowgirls their first winning record in four years, going 9-8-3 in his second season with the team. He coached eight All-Mountain West Conference performers and all four of his teams were recognized with the NSCAA Team Academic Award.
Before joining the Cowgirls, Sanchez spent six seasons as the head women’s coach at Denver’s Metro State College. He posted an impressive 128-11-7 record (a .901 winning percentage) with the Roadrunners, where he won Division II national titles in 2004 and 2006 and reached the semifinals in 2002 and the quarterfinals five times. Sanchez and the Roadrunners also claimed five Central Region Championships.
At Metro State, the Roadrunners won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championship, and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament all six seasons he was at the helm. He was also named the RMAC's Coach of the Year all six years. Sanchez was the 2004 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year, a four-time NSCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and was named the RMAC's All-Time Top Coach.
In his time at Metro State, the Roadrunners established two of the most impressive records in Division II history: a 59-match unbeaten streak (58-0-1) and 61 consecutive home wins. MSCD produced two Division II National Players of the Year and 14 NSCAA All-Americans in his tenure.
Prior to taking over at Metro, Sanchez served as the head men's and women's soccer coach at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College from 1995-2002. In eight seasons, he led the women's team to a 103-15-5 (.858) overall record and the men to a 96-36-7 (.716) mark, producing 12 All-Americans in that span between the two. The women won four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region I Championships and five Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Championships. In 2001, he was the ACCAC and NJCAA Region I Men's and Women's Coach of the Year, as well as the NSCAA Junior College Central Region Coach of the Year. He also won the NJCAA Region I Women's Coach of the Year award in 1996 and 1999.
Sanchez has also been very active in coaching around the Rocky Mountain region. He has served as a staff coach and licensing instructor for the Colorado State Youth Soccer Association and has worked as a coach for U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV staff. Sanchez holds a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) "A" License, a USSF National Youth License, an NSCAA Advanced National Diploma and a KNVB Dutch Advanced Certificate.
After graduating from Scottsdale’s (Ariz.) Coronado High School, where he lettered in soccer, football and baseball, he began his collegiate career at nearby Mesa CC. Later, he transferred to the University of Connecticut and led the Huskies to the 1989 Big East Conference Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth, ranking in the New England Region's top 10 in scoring that season. Following his collegiate career, he played in the Western Soccer League for the Arizona Condors and in the U.S.I.S.L. for the Arizona Cotton.
Sanchez earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Connecticut in 1991. He and wife Beth, a physical education teacher, have two sons, Cole (18) and Drew (14).
|Overall Career Record: 325-98-34 (.748) (21 seasons)|
|NCAA Record: 222-83-29 (.559) (15 seasons)|
|CU 58-38-11 (2012-present)|
|2016||15-6-1||8-2-1 (t-2nd)||NCAA Second Round|
|2014||14-7-1||6-4-1 (3rd)||NCAA Second Round|
|2013||14-7-2||4-5-2 (t-6th)||NCAA Sweet 16|
|Wyoming 36-34-11 (2007-11, 4 seasons)|
|2011||12-6-4||3-1-2 (3rd)||MWC Runner-Up|
|2010||7-10-3||1-3-3 (6th)||MWC First Round|
|2009||9-8-3||3-3-1 (5th)||MWC First Round|
|Metro State 128-11-7 (2003-06, 6 seasons)|
|2007||16-4-3||10-1-1 (1st)||NCAA DII Tournament|
|2006||24-2-0||12-0-0 (1st)||NCAA DII Champions|
|2005||23-0-1||14-0-0 (1st)||RMAC Tourney Champions, NCAA DII Elite Eight|
|2004||25-1-0||14-0-0 (1st)||RMAC Tourney Champions, NCAA DII Champions|
|2003||21-1-1||14-0-0 (1st)||NCAA DII Elite Eight|
|2002||19-3-3||12-0-2 (1st)||RMAC Tourney Champions, NCAA DII Final Four|
|Mesa CC (Women's) 103-15-5 (1996-2001, 6 seasons)|
|2001||21-2||16-0 (1st)||ACCAC Co-Champs, Region I and District A Champions|
|2000||17-3-2||13-2-1 (2nd)||ACCAC and Region I Champions|
|1999||21-2||14-0 (1st)||Region I and District A Champions|
|1998||17-3-2||10-2-2 (2nd)||ACCAC, Region I and Distric A Champions|
|1997||15-2||9-1 (1st)||Region I Champions|
|1996||12-3-1||7-2-1 (2nd)||ACCAC and Region I Champions|
|Mesa CC (Men's) 93-36-7 (1995-2001, 7 seasons)|
|2001||17-3||16-2 (2nd)||Region I Semi-Final|
|2000||15-8||13-5 (3rd)||Region I Runner-Up|
|1999||15-4-3||13-3-2 (3rd)||Region I Semi-Final|
|1998||16-4||13-3 (2nd)||Region I Semi-Final|
|1997||12-5-2||9-4-1 (3rd)||Region I Semi-Final|
|1996||11-5-1||10-3-1 (2nd)||Region I Semi-Final|
|1995||10-7-1||8-5-1 (3rd)||Region I Runner-Up|
2011 MWC Coach of the Year
RMAC All-Time Top Coach
2004 NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year
6-time RMAC Coach of the Year
4-time NSCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year
2001 ACCAC Men's and Women's Coach of the Year
2001 NJCAA Region I Men's and Women's Coach of the Year
2001 NSCAA Junior College Central Region Coach of the Year
1999, '96 NJCAA Region I Women's Coach of the Year