TOLEDO, Ohio – University of Toledo head football coach Matt Campbell announced the addition of Derek Sage to the Rockets’ staff today. Sage, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Wyoming, will serve as the Rockets’ receivers coach.
“Derek brings a lot to the table in terms of experience and football knowledge,” said Campbell. “We have a solid corps of receivers returning this year, as well as an impressive group of newcomers. Derek will help them become better football players and better men.”
Campbell also announced that director of high school relations Bryan Gasser will now serve as the tight ends coach, while director of football operations John Kuceyeski will move into Gasser’s old position. Greg Brabenec, a graduate assistant at UT for the past two seasons, will become the new director of football operations.
Campbell previously announced the addition of Jon Heacock as defensive coordinator and Anthony Johnson as running backs coach, meaning the Rocket staff will have four new assistants on the staff in 2014.
Derek Sage – Wide Receivers
Derek Sage joins the Rockets following a four-year stint as the receivers coach at Wyoming under former Rocket assistant Dave Christensen.
Under Sage’s guidance, the Cowboys ranked second in the Mountain West Conference and 38th in the nation in passing offense in 2012, averaging 265.4 yards per game. Sage mentored wide receiver Chris McNeill to second-team All-Mountain West Conference honors in both 2011 and 2012. McNeill ranked No. 2 in the MWC and No. 47 in the NCAA in receptions (5.73 per game), and No. 3 in the conference and No. 78 in the nation in receiving yards (65.6 yards per game) in 2012. Junior wide receiver Robert Herron was also named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West in 2012.
In 2010, Sage coached former Cowboy wide receiver David Leonard, who concluded his career ranked No. 8 in career receptions at UW with 153. Leonard ranked No. 4 in the Mountain West in receptions in 2010, averaging 3.9 catches per game.
Prior to his stint at Wyoming, Sage was the receivers coach at New Hampshire from 2005-09. The Wildcats ended the 2009 season with a 10-3 record, ranked No. 7 in all three Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national polls 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. Earlier in the season, New Hampshire had defeated Villanova, 28-24, handing the Wildcats their only loss of the season. UNH earned bids to the FCS playoffs in each of Sage's five seasons with the program, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and making it to the first round in 2007.
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 also 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 2007. In 2008, Sage mentored first-team CAA selection Mike Boyle, who led the CAA in touchdown receptions in 2008 and finished his career with a 16.0 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. 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 Sparks, NV, Sage played tight end for Sacramento City College for two years (1998-99), helping win conference and bowl championships at the junior college level. He completed his college career at Cal State Northridge, where he won two letters at tight end in 2000 and 2001.
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 and his wife Mandy have two children, daughter Piper (3), and a son, Casen, born in August of 2013.
Derek Sage’s Coaching Experience
2014 Toledo – Wide Receivers
2010-13 Wyoming – Wide Receivers
2005-09 New Hampshire – Wide Receivers
2003-04 Nevada – Graduate Assistant