The Deion Sanders Rule

Deion Sanders (left) is in charge of leading the Colorado Buffaloes to national prominence. Photo Courtesy: Michael J. Cargill

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

While sitting in the press box at the 2022 Dr. Pepper Big 12 Championship game between then ranked #3 TCU and #10 Kansas State a ticker from ESPN began to cross the screen saying, “JSU HEAD COACH DEION SANDERS WOULD LIKELY TAKE THE HEAD COACH JOB AT COLORADO!’ The news came out before JSU’s game against Southern University for the SWAC football Championship. I sat back into my chair and thought, “How could Deion leave JSU?” This is absolutely crazy! Keep in mind that Deion has brought so much media coverage to the SWAC and HBCU athletics since he’s been there, but I’m totally lost and felt blindsided by his decision to leave. Let’s take a closer look at Deion’s coaching journey and my thoughts at the end of this article. Keep in mind, that this is just my thoughts and opinion so you can formulate your own.

Prime Prep – Dallas, Texas 2012-2014
I can date back to 2012 when I was a teacher/dean at a small charter school in Dallas. I had this dream of owning my school and having an athletic program that could be tops in the country in football, basketball, track and etc. Pro Player Inc. lead by Rod Woods (former Dallas police officer) met with me to discuss opening a school. While planning to open my charter, Deion Sanders opened a small charter school in Oak Cliff called “Prime Prep Academy” where he along with former DISD heads opened a school and had some of the top athletes in the city attending his school. The initial enrollment was 1100 students around the Oak Cliff area. The school closed a few years after, but Deion had already started his coaching dream of reaching the masses.

Jackson State Tigers 2020-2022
When Deion took the head coaching job at Jackson State a few people thought it was just a ploy because Deion was a talented athlete, but not all former athletes doesn’t make good coaches. Not in this case, Deion took a team that was near the bottom of the SWAC for the better part of half a decade and made them champions in three short seasons. His annual salary was $300,000. In his first season he finished with a record of 4-3 and then only lost a pair of games over the next two seasons. Keep in mind that Deion used half of his own salary to upgrade the JSU football facility. Sanders along with former football friends raised money to get new uniforms, suits, shoes and even fed athletes since arriving at Jackson State. His final record at Jackson State is 27-5. The Tigers finished the 2022 season 12-0, the first undefeated season in program history.

My Thoughts
At first, I was upset to hear that Deion Sanders was leaving JSU for Colorado. I thought, “Dude took the money and left!” Well, that’s not true. Keep in mind that he was financially set before he got to the college ranks. His job is to coach football and change the lives of student-athletes. Deion shared, “There’s no graveyard for head coaches, either you move on or get fired!” If you look at his coaching staff from JSU, Sanders had Dennis Thurman (Buffalo Bills) Gary Harrell (New York Giants) and Mike Markuson (CFL) just to name a few. He changed the dynamics of HBCU sports. College GameDay set up for JSU’s homecoming. Look at what he’s done for the HBCU community and SWAC before leaving for his new coaching gig at Colorado. Keep in mind that there will be plenty of blue chip, 5-star or top tier athletes jumping into the transfer portal following Deion Sanders to Colorado. This could be a problem for the NCAA! Remember you read it here first!