Cesar Rivas-Sandoval joined the Azusa Pacific coaching staff in March 2014 after spending the previous year coaching linebackers and serving as special teams coordinator at the University of Sioux Falls. He was the head coach at Fort Lewis (Colo.) College for three years before joining the Sioux Falls coaching staff, and his 14-year coaching career includes experience at almost every level of football from high school to the NCAA Division I.
He also served NFL Minority Coaching Fellowships with the Miami Dolphins (2012) and the Green Bay Packers (2013). As the new defensive coordinator at Azusa Pacific, Rivas-Sandoval will also coach the Cougar linebackers.
"Candidates for jobs at Azusa Pacific have to hit a real sweet spot in order to be hired here," Azusa Pacific head coach Victor Santa Cruz said. "With this opportunity, we wanted to swing for the fences, and with this hire we found a guy who was unique in his concern for developing men through football and also brought a great deal of knowledge at all levels of football."
Rivas-Sandoval, a San Diego native (Hilltop HS) who played college football from 1996-99 at UC Davis, which made NCAA Division II playoff appearances all four years of his career. Three of his first four years of coaching were in his hometown of San Diego, first at Hilltop High School and for two years at the junior college level with Southwestern College. He also has coaching experience at the NCAA Division I level, serving as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Tennessee-Martin in 2008.
"Cesar is a leader, and it was the perfect timing for us to be able to find somebody whose priority is his faith, which integrates together with his family and the game of football," Santa Cruz said. "Azusa Pacific will also benefit greatly from his teaching experience and the knowledge he will be able to bring into the classroom to contribute to the university's excellent academic experience."
Throughout his career, Rivas-Sandoval has served in virtually every capacity, from head coach to offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, as well as coaching positions which include quarterbacks, defensive backs, linebackers, defensive line, and kick returners.