“A match made in heaven.”
That’s how Deion Sanders described his new job as the head football coach at Jackson State University, a historically Black university in Jackson, Mississippi, that plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The former NFL and Major League Baseball player made the announcement on Sunday, Sept. 20, on his podcast “21st & Prime.”
“God called me to Jackson State,” Sanders said on the show.
Jackson State athletics director Ashley Robinson, who was also on the podcast, spoke about how major it is that Sanders was hired.
“It’s very big for Jackson State University,” he stated. “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.”
“A lot of people are going to say, Why?” Sanders said on his show, according to CNN. “But honestly, man, I’ve been offered pro jobs, so people know. I could be an assistant in any college or a head coach in any college, but at such a time as this, God called me to Jackson State and me to these men.”
Jackson was officially named as head coach on Monday, Sept. 21, during an on-campus pep rally and addressed the people present with tears in his eyes.
The 53-year-old told them that he wants to re-establish a winning tradition at the school, since they haven’t had a winning season since 2013. Sanders also said that he believes the team can win the SWAC.
“I believe that God led me here, not man, because man didn’t believe that I was coming,” he explained. “I believe our commitment to excellence, academically, can continue. I believe that our student enrollment can increase, I believe that the crime in this community can cease, I believe that these young men that we’re raising is going to be pillars in the community. Not only professional football players but professionals.”
Last year there was talk that Sanders’ name was in the running to be the head football coach at Florida State University, his alma mater, but that never happened.
He’s been the offensive coordinator for Trinity Christian School in Cedar Hill, Texas, since 2017, where he’ll finish the season before preparing for his new job in Mississippi. The Tigers will start their season in February.
Sanders began playing professional football and baseball in 1989, playing for several NFL teams including the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys. In Major League Baseball, he was a member of five different teams, including the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, and Cincinnati Reds.
At the pep rally, Robinson said he did all he could to find the best candidate for the head coaching job and believes Sanders will be in the students’ lives long after their playing days.
“It was clear quickly that there was one prime candidate that made it to the top of the list,” said Robinson. “You’re going to have a coach for life in Deion Sanders.”
Jackson State University ended its relationship with former head coach John Hendrick in August after he took over the position in late 2018.