TUCSON, ARIZONA –The Tucson Sugar Skulls have named three new assistant coaches for the 2020 season, including a coach familiar to local football fans.
Brandon Sanders, known for his role on the Arizona Wildcats’ famed “Desert Swarm” defense of the mid 1990s, has been hired as the defensive backs coach on the staff of first-year head coach Dixie Wooten.
Sanders most recently was the head coach and athletic director at Pueblo High School in Tucson where he turned around a Warriors football program that had not had a winning season in more than a decade. Pueblo was 41-22 in Sanders’ six seasons as head coach and made the state playoffs three times. In addition to his time at Pueblo, Sanders was an assistant coach at Catalina Foothills High School and Pima Community College. This past season he was named the Vern Friedli Southern Arizona Coach of the Year by All Sports Tucson. He also was named Athletic Director of the Year in 2016.
“Brandon Sanders is a huge pickup for our coaching staff,” Wooten said. “With his Tucson background at Arizona, his NFL background, and his strong coaching ability, we will have a great secondary.”
Sanders played a key role at safety on the Wildcats’ “Desert Swarm” defense from 1992 to 1995 and was one of the UA players on the cover of Sports Illustrated when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1 by the magazine headed into the 1994 season. Sanders played three years in the NFL with the New York Giants. He also played in the original XFL and NFL Europe.
Chuck Miller has been named assistant head coach and offensive line coach. He is entering his fifth year coaching in professional indoor football and will be in his 13th season coaching at various levels, mostly in the Chicago area. He was on Wooten’s staff as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at the Iowa Barnstormers last season when the team posted a 12-2 regular season record and made it to the IFL conference championship game. He previously spent two years coaching the offensive line at the Green Bay Blizzard and coached one year with the Chicago Eagles of the Champions Indoor Football league.
Xzavie Jackson has been named defensive line coach and special teams coordinator. Jackson is the career IFL sacks leader with 81½. After playing at the University of Missouri, Jackson spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals. He played for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in 2008. Jackson spent most of his IFL career playing for the Nebraska Danger.
Jackson joined the coaching staff at Nebraska in 2017 where he coached the defensive line for three years. He played and coached with the Danger in 2018. His first name is pronounced
The Sugar Skulls also announced that they have retained Glenn Howell as their strength and conditioning coach.
Howell has 24 years of experience as a sports strength and conditioning specialist and owns his own business, Howell Athletics, specializing in the field in Tucson. He was a two-year starter at tight end for the Arizona Wildcats in the mid-1980s and was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection in 1985.
“To win championships in the IFL, your coaching staff is a major key,” Wooten said. “With these men, the Sugar Skulls are closer to winning a championship.
“Having Chuck on staff with me another year is huge. He brings hard work and understanding to the team. Xzavie Jackson is the IFL sack leader, and now he can teach our D-line everything he knows.”
The Sugar Skulls open their second season on the road at Cedar Rapids on March 19 then open their seven-game home schedule on March 29 when the Duke City Gladiators visit. Season tickets and a new, four-game Blitz Pack can be purchased now. Information is available at www.tucsonsugarskulls.com or by calling (520) 573-3000.