Colorado hires Deion Sanders as head coach

The school announced Saturday night that Deon Sanders will be Colorado’s next head coach, instantly making him one of the most compelling hires in college football this generation.

Sanders comes with only three years of college football coaching experience, going 27-5 as coach at Jackson State. Jackson State (12-0) completed an undefeated regular season Saturday with a 43-24 blowout of the South for the SWAC Championship.

Sanders informed his team of his departure shortly after Saturday’s victory. Sources told ESPN he’s still scheduled to coach Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 17 against North Carolina Central.

Sanders’ arrival provides a much-needed dose of adrenaline for a Colorado program that has had two winning seasons since 2005 and two losing seasons in five of the past six years. Since 2005, Colorado has had forgotten stints for Carl Durrell, Mel Tucker, Mike McIntyre, John Embry, Dan Hawkins and Gary Barnett.

With Sanders’ arrival, Colorado will instantly become one of the most amazing programs in the country. Instantly becoming one of the most popular coaches in the sport, Colorado’s sudden attention comes at a time when the Pac-12 is about to lose both USC and UCLA to the Big Ten in 2024. Suddenly, Colorado is a roaring program.

Sanders is a famous American athlete who is a member of both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame. He played in the NFL for 14 seasons, won two Super Bowls and also played on several Major League Baseball teams from 1989 through 2001. He brings credibility, charisma and deep connections to the state of Texas – he coached in high school for seven years before Jackson State – to start a recruiting pipeline.

Sanders is a defiant extrovert who has always deliberately avoided modesty and sought to be the center of attention. It’s known as “Coach Prime,” and that mega-character will be needed, since Colorado is a program with no real identity and badly behind fundraising for NIL athletes.

“There were a number of highly qualified and impressive candidates interested in becoming Colorado’s next head football coach, but none had the pedigree, knowledge, and ability to connect with student-athletes like Deion Sanders,” Colorado AD Rick George said in a statement. “Coach Prime will not only energize our fan base, but I am confident he will return our program to national prominence while leading a team of high quality and high character.”

To make change happen, Sanders will need to overcome the outdated infrastructure and big hurdles that have pushed Colorado into worthless college football.

Colorado’s strict transportation policies and lack of NIL infrastructure have been major obstacles in recent years. Several of Colorado’s best players, including potential first-round linebacker Christian Gonzalez (Oregon), left through the transfer portal after last season.

Sanders’ hiring follows a trend that has emerged in college basketball recently, with notable former players such as Penny Hardaway (Memphis), Jerry Stackhouse (Vanderbilt), and Joanne Howard (Michigan) all given high-level positions in college basketball.

Sanders told his team in a meeting posted online after the game that his decision wasn’t about the money—”it’s not about the bag”—but rather about the opportunity to create opportunities for African-American coaches.

“I feel like I have to do something about it,” he said. “There have been four or more African American coaches at the next level who have been fired. I haven’t heard of anyone else… other than a candidate like myself to replace them. To me, that’s a problem that not many people think about. But that’s a problem, if Nobody came forward and got out, that’s a problem.”

Sanders added, “It’s still my challenge to make change happen, no matter where I am. I’m 55 and I don’t plan on changing anytime soon. God made me this way, and I think God is pleased with what He created.”

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