Pro Football Hall of Famer, Two-Time Super Bowl Champion and Coach
Deion Sanders Bio
Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders was named the 28th full-time head football coach at the University of Colorado, athletic director Rick George announced Dec. 3, 2022.
Sanders, 55, joins the CU program from Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss.), where in three seasons the Tigers compiled a 27-6 record and won back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference championships competing on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level; that mark includes an 11-2 record in 2021 and 12-1 record in 2022.
At Jackson State, Sanders achieved tremendous success on and off the field as a fierce advocate for additional exposure and a level playing field for all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Sanders brought national attention to HBCUs, pushing for opportunities to highlight its talent and the culture. In March 2022, Sanders held a Pro Day featuring athletes from four other schools in the state of Mississippi to provide a platform in front of 22 NFL teams and the Canadian Football League. In April 2022, Jackson State became the first HBCU to have its spring football game televised live nationally on ESPNU.
The “Coach Prime” docuseries from SMAC Productions priemired in December 2022 on Prime Video and profiled Jackson State’s undefeated season and Coach Prime’s arrival in Colorado.
Sanders was named the 21st head coach in Jackson State history on Sept. 21, 2020, but had to wait to coach his first game until COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and several FCS schools opted to play a delayed schedule in the spring. Exactly six months to the day later (Feb. 21, 2021), he led the Tigers to a 53-0 win over Edward Waters (Fla.) to begin the “Coach Prime Era.” It was considered the touch point of the elevation of JSU football and the University into becoming one of the most impactful and recognizable brands nationwide.
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 that season was a 12-7 setback at FBS Louisiana-Monroe in Sept. ‘21.
Seven of his players on the 2021 JSU roster 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 top high school prospect in the nation, to an NLI in December 2021, the highest ranked prospect to ever sign with an HBCU or an FCS program.
Sanders was voted the SWAC’s Coach of the Year for a second straight season in 2022; 12 of his players earned some level of All-SWAC honors. For the 2021 campaign, he also garnered honors for the FCS Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year, BOXTOTOW National Coach of the Year and Black College Hall of Fame Coach of the Year.
Jackson State finished that 2022 season with a 12-1 record, completing the regular season undefeated and winning teh SWAC Championship for the second straight season with a 43-24 win over Southern just before officially taking the CU job. He then guided Jackson State in the Celebration Bowl for the second straight season with JSU falling in a heartbreaking 41-34 overtime loss to North Carolina Central.
Prior to joining the collegiate coaching ranks at Jackson State, Sanders had been involved in coaching for over a decade. He was the offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian School (Cedar Hill, Texas), leading the Tigers to three straight Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) titles and a 42-3 record. He also has also been part of the coaching staff for the annual Under Armour All-America Game since 2012. In February 2022, Sanders was named as an HBCU legacy coach for the NFL Pro Bowl.