Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sage named UW receivers coach

Former New Hampshire coach Derek Sage, center, has been named UW receivers coach.

University of Wyoming head football coach Dave Christensen announced on Thursday the hiring of Derek Sage as receivers coach. Sage brings with him eight years experience as a college coach.

The last five seasons he was part of an outstanding University of New Hampshire football program. The Wildcats ended the 2009 season ranked No. 7 in all three Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national polls -- the Sports Network Poll, the FCS Coaches’ Poll and “The Any Given Saturday Poll”. UNH posted a 10-3 record in ‘09, and captured the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) North Division for the second consecutive year. The Wildcats advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2009 FCS Playoffs before losing to eventual National Champion Villanova, 46-7.

Earlier in the season, New Hampshire had defeated Villanova 28-24, handing the national champion its only loss of the season. UNH earned bids to the FCS playoffs each of his five seasons at the Durham, N.H., school, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and making it to the first round of the playoffs in 2007.

“Derek (Sage) has been part of a very successful program at the University of New Hampshire, and has worked for some excellent coaches in his coaching career,” said Christensen. “We were looking for someone with experience coaching receivers. Derek not only has that experience as a coach, but he played tight end, himself, at the college level. He has great knowledge and experience coaching receivers in the spread offense. Derek also has west coast recruiting ties, which is another positive for our program. He is a very aggressive, enthusiastic young coach, who I know will bring a lot of energy to our program and our coaching staff.”

Sage said he is excited to be part of something special at Wyoming.

“I know the offense that Coach (Dave) Christensen brought here from Missouri and that Coach (Marcus) Arroyo installed here last year is a very productive offensive system," Cage said. "I know the vision Coach Christensen has for this program, and I wanted to be a part of that. It’s pretty hard not to be excited to coach receivers in this type of offense.

“I have been fortunate to coach with some great coaches and learn from them. I try to take something from every coach I work with. I want to thank Coach Christensen for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank all the coaches I’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from -- Sean McDonnell, Chip Kelly, Chris Ault -- I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities they’ve given me.”

During his coaching career, Sage has worked with some outstanding coaches. From 2003-04 he coached under head coach Chris Ault at Nevada. From 2005-09, he served as an assistant under head coach Sean McDonnell at New Hampshire. During two of those seasons at New Hampshire in 2005-06, he worked with current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who was then the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire before becoming the offensive coordinator at Oregon and eventually taking over as head coach of the Ducks.

In 2009, Sage completed his fifth season as coach of the New Hampshire wide receivers. While at New Hampshire, Sage coached some of the great receivers in UNH history, including, All-America wide receiver David Ball. Ball set New Hampshire receiving records for career receptions (304) and career receiving yards (4,655). He also became the NCAA career leader in TD receptions, with 58 in his career, breaking Jerry Rice’s previous record of 51 at Mississippi Valley State.

Sage coached 2007 First Team CAA selection Keith LeVan, who ranks second on UNH’s career reception list, with 201, and led the CAA in touchdown receptions in ‘07. Sage also mentored 2008 First Team CAA selection Mike Boyle, who led the CAA in touchdown receptions in ‘08 and finished his career with a 16 yard-per-catch average.

Sage came to UNH from the University of Nevada, where he assisted coaching the defensive backfield as a graduate assistant in 2003 and helped coach the wide receivers as a graduate assistant in 2004. Former Nevada receiver Nicheron Flowers ranked sixth in the nation in receiving with 91 catches for 1,136 yards and six touchdowns in 2004.

A native of Nevada, Sage played for Sacramento City College for two years, helping win conference and bowl championships at the junior college level. He completed his college career at Cal State Northridge, where he was a two-year letterman at tight end. Sage earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Northridge in 2002. While completing his undergraduate degree, he also helped coach at Moorpark Community College (Calif.) working with the offensive line and tight ends. Moorpark won a conference title and a bowl championship that season.

Sage will coach both the Wyoming wide receivers and tight ends. He fills the spot that was previously held by Dan Hammerschmidt, who took an assistant coaching position at his alma mater, Colorado State, in December 2009.

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