Oakland completed its coaching staff Friday, naming former NFL defensive coordinator Bob Sanders linebackers coach. Head Coach Dennis Allen made the announcement.
A 33-year veteran, Sanders’ addition gives the Raiders a staff with 438 combined overall coaching experience, 198 in the NFL. Sanders joins Jason Tarver and Allen as one of three individuals on staff with NFL defensive-coordinator experience. Meanwhile, three coaches on the offensive side (Greg Olson, Tony Sparano and Al Saunders) have been an NFL offensive coordinator. And, not counting Allen, two former NFL head coaches are now on Oakland’s staff: Saunders and Sparano.
Sanders has a strong reputation as a linebackers coach, in addition to his time coaching defensive line. He spent the last four seasons with Buffalo, having joined the Bills as defensive line coach (2009), then spent the next two seasons (2010-11) as outside linebackers coach, before taking over the entire linebacking unit in 2012.
In Green Bay for four seasons (2005-08), Sanders began as defensive ends coach (2005), then was promoted by Mike McCarthy to the new head coach’s first defensive coordinator, a role he held from 2006-08.
During his final Packers season in 2008, Green Bay paced the NFL with six touchdowns on interceptions, and tied for first in the NFC with 22 total INTs. In 2007, when Green Bay ranked sixth in scoring defense, 11th in total defense and third in opponent third-down-conversion percentage, Sanders helped the 13-3 team to the NFC Championship game. And in 2006, Green Bay led the NFC with 46 sacks.
In his first NFL coaching position, Sanders coached Zach Thomas among others during four years (2001-04) as Miami’s linebackers coach, helping the star to three straight Pro Bowl selections.
A college assistant for 22 years, his final collegiate stop was the University of Florida, where his tutelage helped three Gators (Jevon Kearse, Kevin Carter and Huey Richardson) earn first-round selections in the NFL Draft.
In Gainesville for 11 years (1990-2000), he held six titles, with responsibilities ranging from defensive line to linebackers. He also spent one season as assistant head coach and nine as assistant defensive coordinator. With Sanders’ pupils leading the way, in four straight years (1996-99), Florida led the Southeastern Conference in sacks. A pillar on the Gators’ staff, he helped the program to five conference crowns and the 1996 national championship.
Before Florida, Sanders coached five seasons (1985-89) at Duke, the first four as outside linebackers/defensive ends coach, and the final campaign as co-defensive coordinator/outside linebackers. In sharing the reins of the defense, he helped the Blue Devils to an 8-4 season and their first Atlantic Coast Conference title since 1965.
Sanders got to Duke after two years at Richmond (1983-84) and three seasons at East Carolina (1980-82). His first college position was as a part-time coach for Pepper Rodgers in 1978, sandwiched between a three total years (1976-77, 1979) coaching at the high-school level.
A defensive player at Davidson College (1972-75), he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the school in 1976. A Jacksonville, N.C., native, Sanders and his wife, Kathie, have three children, Lindsay, Sarah and Robby.