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Jackson State hires Deion Sanders as new football coach

Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is coming to the SWAC. Monday, he was hired and introduced as the head football coach of Jackson State University.
Credit: Jackson State Athletics

JACKSON, Mississippi — Deion Sanders will be the next head football coach at Jackson State, he announced Sunday on his new podcast.

"God called me to Jackson State," Sanders said on the first episode of "21st & Prime," according to a transcription by the Clarion Ledger.

Jackson State announced the hiring on Monday.

Sanders, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame following a stellar NFL career during which he also played Major League Baseball, is a first-time head coach at the collegiate level.

"I am truly blessed to be the 21st Head football coach of Jackson State University," Sanders said in the school's statement Monday. "It's my desire to continue this storied tradition and history of JSU and prayerfully bring more national recognition to the athletes, the university, the Sonic Boom of the South, and HBCUs in general."

"It's very big for Jackson State University," athletic director Ashley Robinson said, according to the Clarion Ledger's transcription. "Not only for Jackson State University, this is very big for the country right now. Very big for the state of Mississippi. To Coach Prime, Jackson State University -- a blue blood program full of Hall of Famers -- it's just a great time."

In the statement Monday, Robinson said, "Coach Sanders is student-athlete centered and cares about young men and their wellbeing beyond the football field. We expect to compete for and win championships at Jackson State, and Coach Sanders will help us achieve those goals."

A two-time All-American at Florida State, Sanders was the first-round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons in 1989. In 2020, for the NFL 100th Season, Sanders was named to the NFL All-Time Team.

In 2011, Sanders was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also one of 14 players and two coaches to be named in the National Football Foundation's 2011 College Football Hall of Fame Football Bowl Subdivision Class. Sanders, who holds the NFL record for career return touchdowns (19 by kickoff, punt, interception, and fumble), has recently joined the Barstool Sports team where he is making appearances on various programming including on the Pro Football Football Show, Pro Football Football After Show, and his very own podcast, 21st and Prime, which debuted last night.

Sanders originally began his broadcasting career with CBS, co-hosting the NFL Today pregame show from 2001-2003. He spent the next 14 years as an analyst for the NFL Network, headlining popular shows like GameDay Prime and Thursday Night Football.


While this is Sanders' coaching debut on the collegiate sidelines, he has been coaching for over a decade. Sanders is the offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, Texas, and has led the Tigers to three-straight Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) titles. Trinity Christian is 42-3 since Sanders has been the team's offensive coordinator.

In 2019, the Sanders-led offense totaled 6126 yards of total offense and averaged 437.6 yards per game. TCC Quarterback Shedeur Sanders blossomed and accounted for 3477 passing yards and 47 touchdowns and only four interceptions. On the ground, Emari Matthews rushed for 1169 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Sanders has been part of the coaching team for the annual Under Armour All-America Game for the past ten years. Most recently, Sanders and Team Pressure earned a 30-24 victory over Ed Reed and Team Savage in the 2020 Under Armour All-America Game. The contest featured dozens of college football's top recruits and also included several much-anticipated commitments.