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Football: Who is David Saunders?

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, October 12, 2015


David Saunders, the former University of Louisiana at Lafayette assistant football coach at the center of a major alleged NCAA recruiting scandal involving the Ragin’ Cajuns, has a resume full of stops at several NCAA programs.

UL disclosed Sunday — three days after a public records request by The Daily Advertiser — that the NCAA alleges Saunders arranged for six Cajun recruits, five of whom later played at UL, to take their ACT exams at the same Mississippi high school test center, where someone monitoring the tests helped to improve the scores.

The NCAA further alleges Saunders paid one ex-Cajun $6,500, including at least $5,000 while he was at a junior college.

Saunders has denied the allegations. UL has acknowledged irregularities with the ACT exams, but denies the cash payment allegation.

Saunders was hired by current Cajuns head coach Mark Hudspeth in January 2011 and was terminated late last October.

According to his bio in UL’s 2011 Media Guide, Saunders is a former assistant coach at schools including Jacksonville State, Georgia Southern, Nicholls State, Baylor and Ole Miss and a former head coach at Millsaps College in Mississippi who “established an acclaimed recruiting program” during his first of three employment stints at Ole Miss.

In his last job at Ole Miss, he was a football administrative assistant in 2010.

According to the UL bio, he was recruiting coordinator at three programs including Arkansas State in 1996-97 and Ole Miss from 1998-2002. He also was an on-campus recruiting coordinator for Tennessee during its 1998 national-championship season, and coached the defensive line at Georgia Southern when it won the 1990 NCAA Division 1-AA national title.

As cornerbacks coach at UL before moving over to outside linebackers, Saunders worked with two ex-Cajuns — Dwight Bentley and Melvin White — who went on to play in the NFL.

He was hired last August as an assistant coach at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi.