BOULDER — Deion Sanders, known as "Prime Time" during his Hall of Fame playing career and has since transitioned into "Coach Prime," has been named the 28th full-time head football coach at the University of Colorado, athletic director Rick George announced Saturday evening.
Sanders, 55, joins the CU program from Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss.), where in three seasons the Tigers compiled a 27-5 record and won back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference championships competing on the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level; that mark includes a 12-0 record this season. Jackson State defeated Southern, 43-24, in the SWAC title game on Saturday.
"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," George said. "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."
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.
"Deion Sanders' stature transcends sports, and his hiring elevates not only the football program but the university as a whole," said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. "I'm thankful Deion has chosen to join our Buffalo family and I applaud Rick George for a truly inspired choice. This is an exciting new chapter in the long, storied history of Colorado football and I look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our students, supporters and fans to cheer on "Coach Prime" and our student-athletes next fall."
Sanders first game as head coach for the Buffaloes will be next Sept. 2 at TCU, currently ranked third in the College Football Playoff standings. His first home games follow on Sept. 9 against long-time rival Nebraska, with in-state rival Colorado State on tap the following Saturday. Those two foes open the 100th season of CU's historic Folsom Field.