A balanced attack with a quarterback that can run and pass has become a trademark of Mike Santiago offenses. That tradition carried on in Santiago's first year at Utah State in 2005 as USU used a number of different players in the offense.
The 2005 team saw a freshman (Ryan Bohm) lead the team in rushing for just the fourth time in school history, while a pair of quarterbacks (Leon Jackson III and Jerod Walker) both set a school mark for rushing yards by a quarterback with 328 yards each.
Entering his second season at Utah State, Santiago will once again serve as the offensive coordinator for the Aggies.
Santiago came to USU after spending the previous six years as the head coach at Stephen F. Austin, where he compiled a 39-27 record. The Lumberjacks posted winning records each season and shared a conference title in his first year in 1999, a season after the team went 3-8. SFA's five-game turnaround that year was the best in the nation at the I-AA level. The six consecutive winning seasons marked the best stretch in school history.
Prior to taking over the reigns at SFA, Santiago was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at McNeese State from 1990-98. His teams led the Southland Conference in passing offense in 1996 and scoring offense in 1997 and 1998. His last three quarterbacks all-earned all-Southland Football League honors and in fact, quarterbacks under his guidance earned all-league honors in 11 of his last 13 years of coaching.
"Obviously he has a lot of great coaching experience," said USU head coach Brent Guy. "He has been an offensive coordinator for a long time and then has been a head coach for a winning program. He runs the style of offense that I was interested in, where we can get the quarterback involved in the running game."
Santiago began his coaching career at Lamar from 1978-81 working with wide receivers as well as defensive ends for one season. He then spent one season at North Carolina State coaching wide receivers in 1982 and coaching quarterbacks at Northern Arizona in 1983. He spent 1984 as a scout with the Cleveland Browns, before returning to college coaching.
He coached quarterbacks at Western Michigan in 1985 and 1986 and quarterbacks at Southwest Texas from 1987-89 before taking over the offense at McNeese State.
Santiago graduated from Southern Utah in 1977 with a degree in psychology. He and his wife Rochelle have two sons, Dallas and Tyler.
Year by Year Head Coaching Record at Stephen F. Austin
Year Record 1999 8-3 2000 6-5 2001 6-5 2002 6-5 2003 7-4 2004 6-5 Totals 39-27
Coaching Experience 1978-81 Lamar WR/DE 1982 N.C. State Wide Receivers 1983 No. Arizona Quarterbacks 1984 Cleveland NFL Scout 1985-86 W. Michigan Quarterbacks 1987-89 SW Texas Quarterbacks 1990-98 McNeese St. Off. Coord./QB 1999-2004 S.F. Austin Head Coach 2005- Utah State Off. Coord./QB