When Jackson State athletics director Ashley Robinson told school President Thomas Hudson that he was going after Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders to become head football coach, Hudson was all in.
He realized the impact that a person of Deion’s stature, football experience, charisma and knowledge could have on a program like Jackson’s.
Sanders’ announcement met with great fanfare and media hype, but there were also those pundits and shock jocks who questioned the move and believed it wouldn’t work.
They questioned Deion’s lack of experience at the college level and his dedication to building an HBCU program with all of the financial and cultural challenges that come with the job.
Building An Empire
Thus far, the union of Sanders and Jackson State is looking like a match made in heaven.
During his introductory press conference, Sanders stressed the importance of his commitment to excellence in anything and everything he does. He came out of the gate with the audacity to dream big and create a new culture at Jackson State while uplifting the prospects and possibilities for Black college football.
“We’re going to win,” Sanders proclaimed with the same confidence that fueled his legendary NFL career. “We’re going to look good while we win, and we’re going to have a good time while we win.”
Those words seemed to resonate through the halls of the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center and throughout the JSU Practice Pavilion and Walter Payton Health and Recreation Center.
During Sanders’ introductory presser, both Robinson and Hudson talked about the power move to bring in the man that has become known as Coach Prime.
Hudson said it was a “grace of God” hiring.
Sanders Hasn’t Let Jackson State Down
After the 2020 fall SWAC season was canceled, Sanders began his first season as Tigers head coach during the SWAC’s abbreviated spring season. The Tigers went 4-3, but Sanders wasn’t satisfied and refused to use the many challenges presented by COVID-19 as an excuse.
He took the time to make his team better for the 2021 season, his first full season at the helm. The Tigers hit the road running, winning their first SWAC championship since 2007. They also participated in the Celebration Bowl, a de facto Black college football championship game played in Atlanta which featured the SWAC champion versus MEAC champion.
To learn more about what Deion Sanders has up his sleeves for year 3 with Jackson State, read here.