Deion Sanders becomes Colorado's new football coach


Primetime is heading to Boulder.

Deion Sanders has been named the new head coach at the University of Colorado. The announcement came shortly after Sanders' current team Jackson State defeated Southern in the SWAC title game on Saturday.

Sanders began his college coaching career at Jackson State in 2020. The Tigers have gone 27-5 across Sanders’ three seasons at the helm, including 12-0 so far in 2022.

“Coach Prime’s impact during his JSU tenure goes far beyond his 27 wins and back-to-back SWAC Championships on the field, to the thousands who have been motivated and inspired by him simply saying ‘I Believe,’” Jackson State vice president and director of athletics Ashley Robinson said in a statement on Saturday. “The influence of Coach Prime on Jackson State football, the university, the city of Jackson and college football cannot be understated. He challenged norms and transformed mindsets of what was perceived to be possible to create new visions for success while inspiring the community and creating a spotlight on HBCU sports and culture.

“I cannot thank him enough for his impact on me professionally and personally, and I know he will continue to have elite success as he has throughout his career as a player, coach and businessman.”

The school has one game remaining on its schedule with the Celebration Bowl against North Carolina Central on Dec. 17. ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that Sanders is expected to coach in that game.

Sanders will owe Jackson State around $300,000 in a buyout as part of the contract he signed in 2020, according to USA TODAY. CBS News Colorado reported on Friday that Colorado offered Sanders a starting salary of more than $5 million per year, along with incentives that could boost his payday. 

While Jackson State has enjoyed success in recent years, the same cannot be said for Sanders’ new school. Colorado went just 1-11 in 2022 and fired head coach Karl Dorrell on Oct. 2. Mike Sanford Jr. was named the interim head coach in Dorrell’s place and finished out the final seven games of the season.

Colorado only has two winning seasons dating back to 2006 and has not won a bowl game since 2004. With change coming to the Pac-12, the Buffaloes are hoping to turn things around with Sanders leading the charge.

“There were a number of highly qualified and impressive candidates interested in becoming the next head football coach at Colorado, but none of them had the pedigree, the knowledge and the ability to connect with student-athletes like Deion Sanders,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a statement. “Not only will Coach Prime energize our fanbase, I'm confident that he will lead our program back to national prominence while leading a team of high quality and high character.”

Sanders is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame. He played 14 NFL seasons and won two Super Bowls following his collegiate career at the Florida State.

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