Coach Prime Time Rides New Attitude HBCU Explosion, Takes Over JSU Football

HBCU sports have been getting a boost of late. Four and five-star athletes are considering and even attending different HBCUs and the narrative about the quality of Black College athletics is changing. 

Five-star High School baller Makur Maker, the cousin of Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker, chose the Bison over UCLA, Kentucky and Memphis.

Volleyball Twins Bria and Cimone Woodward reversed course on a PWI and decided to bring their talents to P.Diddy’s alma mater as well.

It’s Prime Time At Jackson State University

Jackson State has made its own splash, announcing that Hall of Fame cornerback and legendary two-sport pro Deion “Prime Time” Sanders will be the next head football coach at Jackson State. 

Sanders announced the gig on Sunday during his new podcast. 

“God called me to Jackson State,” Saunders said on the inaugural episode of “21st & Prime,” according to the Clarion Ledger. 

Sanders has years of experience in football, but this will be his first head coaching job at the collegiate level. What we do know is that if you play for coach Sanders football and God will become a permanent part of your day. 

“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 story’s 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.” 

The 53-year-old Sanders’ charisma and unapologetically Black posture is a perfect fit for a conference that embodies the creative cultural essence of Black America and sets the tone for true diversity in college athletics. A conference that has survived despite PWI’s picking, plucking and pillaging the best African-American athletes and academic soldiers in the world and leaving HBCU’s the “scraps.”

The Tigers have a rich football history that includes 3 Black National Championships, 16 SWAC titles and 7 SEC East division titles. 

Despite the religious focus, Sanders’ arrival also brings with it all of the swag, fanfare, media attention enthusiasm, energy and scrutiny that we have become used to when Deion is involved in a situation. 

Just look at how he entered the Jackson State arena to address the university. 

How often does the mayor attend the announcement of a college head coach? 

Deion’s mere presence brings attention and credibility to the JSU football program. He takes over for John Hendrick who ran the program from midway through the 2018 season until recently and compiled a 6-9 record, 5-5 in the SWAC. 

There will be plenty of players whose parents want them to ball for an NFL Hall of Famer of Sanders’ pedigree. If Coach Prime can actually help the process along by recruiting intelligently and compiling a staff that will elevate the players on the team, then this move could be huge for the future of HBCU football. Hopefully, the media respects the kids of the program and doesn’t make everything about Coach “Prime.” Hopefully, Coach Prime does the same thing. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.