Last week, several outlets reported that Deion Sanders would be the new head football coach at Jackson State.
Football Scoop initially reported that Sanders was a candidate, but the school denied that the Hall of Fame cornerback and former NFL Network analyst was hired, insisting that interim coach T.C. Taylor would get the job. HBCU Sports soon followed up by reporting that Sanders was indeed the hire. Later, Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellinger reported that Jackson State was finalizing a deal with Sanders for their head coaching position.
Whoever Jackson State’s next coach was going to be, the school planned to make an announcement Monday morning at a press conference. (Sanders was introduced at 10 a.m. ET.) But the new coach decided to break the news himself ahead of the presser on his new podcast.
On 21st & Prime, his new Barstool Sports podcast, Sanders confirmed that he was indeed being hired as Jackson State’s football coach. Though Sanders and co-host Jamie Dukes saved the discussion about Prime Time’s new job to the end of the show (beginning at the 54:41 mark), Dukes did introduce Sanders as “Coach Prime” during an interview with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
When asked why coach college football, Deion Sanders replied “Why not?” and said “God called me to Jackson State”: pic.twitter.com/FNPd6UBhPm
— The Podcass (@thepodcass) September 21, 2020
Jackson State’s acting president Thomas Hudson and athletic director Ashley Robinson appeared during the podcast’s final segment to talk about the decision.
Asked why coach college football at the FCS level, Sanders replied “Why not? Isn’t this the time? Isn’t this the moment? Isn’t this what’s needed?” He went on to say that “God called me to Jackson State.”
“When they pulled up today, I said ‘you know for me to leave this, it has to be God, right?'” Sanders added. “A lot of people are going to say ‘Why?’ Honestly, man, I’ve been offered pro jobs, just so people know. I could be an assistant at any college, or a head coach at any college, but at such a time as this, God called me to Jackson State, and me to these men.”
Before Sanders was introduced in a press conference at the school Monday, he further confirmed the news on his Instagram story:
Sanders left NFL Network in August for Barstool, where he’s not only doing his own podcast but also appears on the outlet’s Sunday NFL pregame show and Pardon My Take after Sunday’s games are finished.
When news of Sanders being hired by Jackson State circulated, the immediate question was whether or not he would stay at Barstool Sports. But debuting his new podcast and announcing his new job on the show seems to definitively address that matter. How much Jackson State football business will be discussed on 21st & Prime remains to be seen heard, but plenty of college football coaches do podcasts. Talking about football and other sports, along with culture, arguably makes Sanders more relatable to athletes he might recruit.
Last season, Jackson State went 4-8 (3-4 in the SWAC) under coach John Hendrick. The school decided not to renew Hendrick’s contract after the season, looking to make a change. Historically, the Tigers have been a very successful program among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but have struggled since 2014 (compiling a 23-44 record).
Sanders will presumably get right to work with Jackson State scheduled to play an eight-game season postponed to the spring, beginning Feb. 21.