Deion Sanders, aka Coach Prime, has taken the college football world by storm. During his short 18-month tenure at Jackson State, Sanders has done wonders. Winning a SWAC championship, playing in the Celebration Bowl, and being named Eddie Robinson Award winner as the top FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) coach.
He then went out and landed two top-50 recruits including the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation.
Sanders has always been one to give credit to those who came before him in the coaching profession. In a recent interview with Stephen A. Smith, on ESPN’s “Stephen A’s World,” Sanders talked about the coaches who’ve had a profound effect on him. This, after Sanders had to correct Smith, an HBCU grad (Winston-Salem State), for calling Jackson State, Jacksonville State.
“Everybody I’ve played for, everybody that has been … that’s touched my life in the coaching realm, from my high school coach, to my Pop Warner coach, who’s no longer with us … um, Coach [Bobby] Bowden, of course … Coach Mickey Andrews, who — I’m pretty much a version of Mickey Andrews right now the way I go about my job — I mean, so many guys, Mike Zimmer, Ray Rhodes, it’s a combination of guys, man, that I was blessed to play for,” Sanders said.
“Barry Switzer, his recruiting style is unbelievable. And I love me some Nick Saban, you know I love me some Coach Saban. I love me some Coach Saban, I can’t wait to shoot another AFLAC commercial so I can glean from him.”
This man Mickey Andrews is responsible for my Game,Technique & Resilience he taught me everything at Fla.State. Truth pic.twitter.com/aXDDGgEWp4
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) March 26, 2014
Sanders Says He’s A Version Of Mickey Andrews
The aforementioned Andrews was a huge part of the late great Bobby Bowden’s coaching staff at Florida State university from 1984 to 2009 as the program rose to the top of the college football food chain and stayed there for most of the 1990s and 2000s.
He coached some elite NFL talent, including Sanders. Andrews played a huge role in getting Sanders to commit to the Noles. His early tutelage helped Deion develop into arguably the greatest cover defender in NFL history. Andrews reveals, however, that when Deion arrived st FSU he was a great, hard-working athlete but not a very good cornerback.
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) November 17, 2013
“Deion Sanders was the hardest-working guy to ever come through here. He was very talented, but he wasn’t a good defensive back when he got here. He became one because it meant so much to him. When you think back to all those guys who achieved the highest success you could as a player … It was important to him, and he learned what it took to get there. Just seeing the commitment that he made to become better than ever is something you can’t beat. Pride and effort. That’s not excluding other athletes.”
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) August 9, 2018
Andrews made Sanders work for what he wanted, and for Sanders to say he’s a version of the former great defensive genius is the utmost respect. Andrews did something right, because Sanders became a Jim Thorpe Award winner, given annually to college football’s top defensive back.
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) April 7, 2019
Sanders’ Coaching Style Is Influenced By Various Coaches
Sanders oozes the leadership and offensive savvy of the late great Bobby Bowden, and the intensity and ferocity of Andrews. His football IQ is on par with two of his former NFL defensive coordinators in Mike Zimmer and the great Ray Rhodes.
His meticulous attention to detail and ability to lead and produce in the moment is very similar to Nick Saban’s. Sanders played defensive back, and Saban is considered the best defensive mind in college football and one of the top defensive backs coaches as well.
Sanders is known as a disciplinarian, which also speaks to why he says he’s a version of Andrews. During their tenure together Bowden was quick to say he let Andrews levy most of the punishment to his defensive players without much input.
In fact, he even gave Andrews the power to make disciplinary decisions for all players in certain instances. That showed the respect and trust the great Bowden had in his longtime defensive coordinator.
Will someone Please tell Coach Bobby Bowden he is the best College football coach EVER Florida State wouldn't be FSU without Bobby Bowden!!
— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) October 26, 2013
So far, everything Sanders has touched has turned to gold. The accolades he racked up in his first full fall season at JSU is proof that he has had some masters of the craft preparing him for this moment. Sanders has used the mixed bag of things he’s learned from those coaches to bring visibility, exposure and revenue to Jackson State and the Black college football.