Deion Sanders Makes A Historic Move, Becomes New Head Football Coach At This HBCU
The NFL star's decision to coach at Jackson State University is major for the HBCU community.
September 21, 2020 at 8:56 pm
Sanders, always known for his flashy fashion tastes, showed up to campus in style on Monday.
"I am truly blessed to be the 21st Head football coach of Jackson State University. 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," Sanders said in a statement on Monday.
"God called me to Jackson State," he added on his podcast. "Why not? Isn't this the time? Isn't this the moment? Isn't this what's needed? To match what our president eloquently said, it's a match made in heaven. This is a God move."
Sanders spent years in the NFL as a star cornerback and even played major league baseball, according to ESPN. The eight-time Pro Bowler was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame recently and has since done work for the NFL Network.
The 53-year-old is currently coaching high school football in Texas and will take over the coaching helm at Jackson State when the league resumes play in February.
Sanders' move is a part of a larger wave of Black athletes opting to attend HBCUs instead of traditional sports powerhouses that are overwhelmingly white.
This summer, during the height of protests over police brutality and racism, The New York Times reported on a number of star high school athletes opting to play for HBCUs, including highly-rated basketball and football stars like Nate Tabor, Makur Maker and Daniel Ingram.
Tabor has said he will be playing basketball at Norfolk State University, Maker has decided to attend Howard University and Ingram will now be committing to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. These decisions have the chance to change the economic fortunes for these schools considering the massive influx of money seen by other schools that have been able to attract high-level athletic talent.
JSU Acting President Thomas Hudson and athletic director Ashley Robinson both appeared on Sanders podcast to discuss how historic his decision was and how happy they were to have him leading the football team, which has not had a winning season since 2013.
"It's very big for Jackson State University. Not only for Jackson State University, this is very big for the country right now. Very big for the state of Mississippi," Robinson said, according to the Clarion Ledger's transcription.
"To Coach Prime, Jackson State University -- a blue blood program full of Hall of Famers -- it's just a great time. 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," Robinson added.