Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders Named Head Football Coach at University of Colorado – University of Colorado Athletics

BOULDER — Deion Sanders, known as “Prime Time” during his career was inducted into the Hall of Fame and has since moved on to “Coach Prime,” the 28th full-time head football coach at the University of Colorado, athletic director Rick George announced Saturday night. .

Sanders, 55, joins the CU program from Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss.), where in three seasons the Tigers have compiled a 27-5 record and won back-to-back FCS Championships ) level; That mark includes a 12-0 record this season. Jackson State defeated South, 43-24, in the SWAC title game on Saturday.

“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,” George said. “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.”

At Jackson State, Sanders has enjoyed tremendous success on and off the field as a fierce advocate for more exposure and a level playing field for all historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Sanders has brought national attention to HBCUs, prompting opportunities to highlight its talent and culture. In March 2022, Sanders held a pro day featuring athletes from four other Mississippi schools to provide a platform for 22 NFL and CFL teams. In April 2022, Jackson State became the first HBCU to show a spring football game live nationally on ESPNU.

“Deion Sanders’ stature transcends sports, and his appointment raises not only the football program, but the university as a whole,” said University of Boulder Chancellor Philip DeStefano in Boulder. “I am grateful that Deion chose to join the Buffalo family and applaud Rick George for his truly inspiring choice. This is an exciting new chapter in the long and storied football history of Colorado, and I look forward to standing shoulder to shoulder with our students, supporters, and fans to cheer on Coach Prime and our student-athletes at next fall.”

Sanders’ first game as head coach of the Buffaloes will be next September 2 at UCLA, which is currently ranked No. 3 in the college football standings. His first home game followed on September 9 against longtime rival Nebraska, with state rival Colorado State the following Saturday. These two rivals open the 100th season of the University of Colorado’s historic Folsom Field.

The “Coach Prime” documentary series from SMAC Productions will premiere later this month on Prime Video and covers Jackson State’s undefeated season and Coach Prime’s arrival in Colorado.

coaching profession

Sanders was named the 21st head coach in Jackson State history on September 21, 2020, but had to wait to coach his first game until COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and several FCS schools chose to play a late schedule in the spring. Exactly six months to the next (February 21, 2021), he led the Tigers to a 53-0 victory over Edward Waters (FL) to begin the “head coach era.” It was considered the point of contact for the advancement of football at JSU and the university into one of the most influential and recognizable brands nationally.

JSU was 4-3 in the pandemic-delayed 2020 season before rolling to an 11-2 record in 2021, winning the SWAC title with a 27-10 win over Prairie View A&M in the title game. The Tigers lost to South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl; Otherwise their only other loss over the last 25 games was a 12-7 setback at FBS Louisiana-Monroe on September 21.

Seven of his players on JSU’s 2021 roster have earned a professional opportunity in the NFL, CFL, or USFL, including James Houston IV, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions. He also signed cornerback Travis Hunter, considered the best high school prospect in the country, to the NLI in December 2021, the highest rated prospect signing with an HBCU or FCS program.

Sanders was recently voted the SWAC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season. 12 of his players have earned some level of All-SWAC honors. For the 2021 campaign, he also earned FCS Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year honors, BOXTOTOW National Coach of the Year and Black College Hall of Fame Coach of the Year.

Before joining the collegiate coaching ranks at Jackson State, Sanders was involved in coaching for over a decade. He was the offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian School (Cedar Hill, TX), and led the Tigers to three straight Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) titles and a record of 42-3. He’s also been part of the coaching staff for the annual Under Armor All-America Game since 2012. This past February, Sanders was named the HBCU’s longtime coach for the NFL Pro Bowl.

University honor

He was awarded the third annual Jim Thorpe Award in 1988, presented to the top defenseman in the United States; He was a finalist for the honor in 1987 when he finished behind contest winners Ricky Dixon (Oklahoma) and Penny Blades (Miami). The second time out, Louis Oliver (Florida) and Steve Atwater (Arkansas and future Denver Broncos) topped. That same year, he finished eighth in Heisman Trophy voting.

He finished his Seminoles football career with 14 interceptions, three of them returned for touchdowns. Those are still tied for third in the FSU record book (with ESPN’s Lee Corso). He owns the longest interception return in school history when he raced 100 yards for a TD against Tulsa as a freshman. Sanders also achieved a school record 1,429 punt return yards with three more scores. Playing for the late Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden, FSU was 36-9-1 in his four seasons as a Seminole, finishing with the #2 team in the country as a junior in 1987 and #3 his senior season in 1988.

He also played one season of baseball for FSU (as a sophomore in 1987, hit . 267 with three home runs, 21 home runs and 27 stolen bases) and ran sprints and relays in track (he was the 1988 Metro Conference champion in Outdoors in 1988. The 100 and 200 meter dashes). He was inducted into the Florida State Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in its class of 2011.

NFL and MLB jobs

Sanders is the only athlete to have played in both the Super Bowl (twice) and the World Series.

He appeared in 188 regular season games (157 starts) in the NFL with five teams: Atlanta (1989-1993; the Falcons selected him as the 5th overall pick in the first round in the 89th draft), San Francisco (1994), Dallas (1995- 99), Washington (2000) and Baltimore (2004-2005). He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1994, was named to the All-Nineties Team and the NFL All-Time Team in 2020, the latter being part of the league’s celebration of its 100th season.

“Prime Time” made 53 interceptions over the course of his career, with 512 tackles, 19 forced fumbles and 13 fumble recoveries. He accumulated 7,838 all-purpose yards, primarily through returns (2,199 kicks, 3,523 kickoffs). He’s also caught 60 passes for 784 yards and three immediate-service touchdowns as a wide receiver throughout his career, as in 1996, he became just one of two starters in the NFL since his 1950s platoon days. He set an NFL record with 19 career touchdowns on returns, nine coming through interception returns, six on punts, three on kickoffs, and one on rebounding.

He appeared in 12 postseason games, made five more interceptions, and won back-to-back Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and Cowboys. He had three tackles and an interception in San Francisco’s victory over San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX, and a reception for 47 yards in the win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XXX. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the class of 2011, recognizing a 14-year NFL career that saw him be All-Pro selection nine times and play in eight Pro Bowls.

In Major League Baseball, he was drafted out of high school in the sixth round of the 1985 draft by the Kansas City Royals, but chose to play college football. He was then selected in the 88th draft by the New York Yankees and made his MLB debut on May 31, 1989 with the club and was on the Yankees’ opening day roster in 1990.

Sanders played a total of 11 seasons in professional baseball, nine in the major leagues with the New York Yankees (1989-90), Atlanta (1991-1994), Cincinnati (1994-95, 1997, 2001) and San Francisco (1995). In 641 major league games, he had a career batting average of . 263 (558 hits in 2,123 at bats), scored 308 runs with 39 home runs, and struck out 168 runs in stolen bases in 1986.

In the 1992 World Series, when Toronto beat Atlanta four games to two, Sanders appeared in four games, batting . 533 (8 of 15), with four runs scored and five stolen bases.

During his professional career, Sanders played alongside seven Colorado Buffalo alumni, including relief pitcher Jay Howell, the last CU player in the major leagues, with the Atlanta Braves in 1993. In the NFL, teammates who played in CU includes Jeff Donaldson and Mike Pritchard (Atlanta Falcons, 1991-1993), Greg Jones, Jay Leeuwenburg and Michael Westbrook (Washington Redskins, 2000) and Kordell Stewart (Baltimore Ravens, 2004-05).

Sanders, Colorado

Sanders’ NFL teams have played Denver four times, winning each of them twice at home. He missed one of two games in Colorado as he was wrapping up the 1995 MLB season with the San Francisco Giants. He had an interception in San Francisco’s 42-19 win over the Broncos at Candlestick Park in 1994. In his only in-state game in a football uniform, he had an unassisted tackle with the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, his final pro season.

He was very much a thorn in the side against the Colorado Rockies. In 26 games against them between the Braves, Reds, and Giants, he batted . 381 (40-for-105), scored 21 runs with four doubles, two triples, one home run, eight runs batted in and 14 stolen bases. Only eight of those games were at Colorado, where he hit . 378 (14 out of 37), with his only home run against the Rocks; He played at the old Mile High Stadium in ’93 and ’94 with the Braves and at Corus Field with the Reds in ’97 (his teams were a combined 19-7 against Colorado).


Sanders retired from baseball in 2001 and after not playing in the NFL from 2001-2003, he came out of his first retirement and played those two additional seasons with the Baltimore Ravens in 2004-05.

He began his broadcasting career in 2001, co-hosting NFL Today, the former CBS show. He was in that group for three years. He then spent 14 years at NFL Network as an analyst and appeared on shows like GameDay Prime and Thursday Night Football.

Success—whether on the field or in the classroom—has always been at the forefront of Sanders. After retiring as a professional athlete in 2006, he founded TRUTH, a youth organization serving more than 1,100 children in the Dallas and Memphis communities, using education as a platform for success and leadership.

Pursuing a long-term personal goal, Sanders graduated from Talladega College in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Management.

Sanders is the proud father of five children: sons Dion Jr., Shiloh, and Shadior, and daughters Diondra and Chelomi. Shilo (red sophomore) and Shedeur (sophomore) both played for Sanders at Jackson State, while Deion Jr. mentored the team. On social media sharing. The youngest, Chelomi, is a true freshman on the Jackson State women’s basketball team.

(Deion Sanders continues to be represented by SMAC Entertainment’s Constance Schwartz-Morini and Tabitha Plummer of Plummer Law Group.)

M/Sports Information assistant Curtis Snyder contributed to this story.

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