The Coach Prime Effect, Deion Sanders Effect, whatever you want to call it, is still influencing the elevation of people to high places in HBCU football.
The Prairie View A&M football program has promoted longtime assistant Bubba McDowell to its head football coach position. McDowell was named interim head coach in December following the departure of Eric Dooley to Southern.
The school made the announcement with a press release from Prairie View athletics director Donald Reed:
“I’m proud to have Coach McDowell as the new head of our football program. I chose Coach McDowell because of his vast and successful experiences in collegiate and professional football. His leadership style and student-athlete centered approach align with our goals to see our athletes excel in the classroom, on the field and in the community. I’m impressed by Coach McDowell’s commitment to PV and I know he’ll lead us to accomplish great things.”
— Jason Dumas (@jasondumas99) December 28, 2021
Prairie View Was A Contender In The SWAC: Can They Continue To Be?
The Panthers finished the 2021 SWAC season at 7-5 overall and 6-2 in the SWAC, which was good enough to win the West division of the conference. They fell to the SWAC champion Jackson State Tigers (27-10) in the Cricket SWAC Championship Game.
Led by quarterback Juwan Pass, the Panthers really had a solid season. But Pass is out of eligibility, meaning McDowell will have to find himself a new signal caller for the 2022 season.
Jawon Pass had the tough job of taking over for Lamar Jackson at Louisville.
On this 59-yd TD run the transfer QB sure did look like the former NFL MVP.
Ark Pine-Bluff 3 📺 ESPNU pic.twitter.com/c0Ksa6tnvF
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) September 30, 2021
McDowell’s calling card has been on the defensive side of the football. He’s been with the program in Prairie View, Texas, as assistant head coach for eight seasons. Like most African-American coaches, recruiting is one of his strong suits. Skill advancement is also something that McDowell is adept at. It was only right that the chain of command would hold at Prairie View, as McDowell played a huge role in the development of the program alongside Dooley.
— Prairie View A&M (@PVAMU) January 4, 2022
McDowell Brings NFL Pedigree To The Position
The former Miami Hurricanes safety played seven NFL seasons, six with the Houston Oilers (1989-94) and his last season with the expansion Carolina Panthers in 1995. He was a vital piece of some underachieving Oiler squads led by Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon. None bigger than the 1992 team that blew a 35-3 lead in a playoff loss to Buffalo. Many believed that Oilers team was talented enough to win a Super Bowl.
28 years ago today the Houston Oilers went up 35-3 at Buffalo In opening Wild Card playoff. Bills were without starting QB Jim Kelly. Backup Frank Reich threw a pick six to Bubba McDowell sealing an insurmountable 3rd quarter lead – 3 January 1993#HoustonOilers#RunNShoot pic.twitter.com/XHfWIhDhLI
— Ade (@rawnaleeda) January 3, 2021
McDowell was known as a complete two-way safety for his hitting and ability to cover. He accumulated nearly 500 career tackles, 17 interceptions and five career sacks. He also had a knack for forcing fumbles in his career, finishing with 10. In 1991, he was voted a second-team All-Pro selection, which was impressive considering the other talented safeties in the league at the time.
More HBCUs Turning To Former NFL Players/Coaches After Deion Sanders Turned Around Jackson State
The success of Coach Prime at Jackson State has opened the floodgates for former NFL players and coaches taking over HBCU football programs. Eddie George was hired at Tennessee State.
Last month, former NFL head coach Hue Jackson was hired at Jackson State’s SWAC rival Grambling State in Louisiana. Coach Prime’s success and relationship with the coaches undoubtedly played a role in both hirings.
Coach Prime led the Tigers to their first 11-win season in program history as well as their first SWAC title since 2007. They also participated in the Celebration Bowl for the first time ever.
Reportedly, Tigers-related revenue in Jackson, Mississippi, improved from $16 million to $30 million in the year and a half that Prime has coached Jackson State.
Sellouts at home, on the road and the Celebration Bowl all happened courtesy of the visibility and notoriety brought on by the hiring of Deion Sanders.
Sanders then went out and flipped the nation’s 2022 No. 1 overall recruit in Travis Hunter after he was long-standing Florida State commit.
Naturally, Travis Hunter is excited to working alongside football icon Deion Sanders. What football player wouldn't be? https://t.co/10dwSvUmdw
— The Shadow League (@ShadowLeague) December 15, 2021
Other HBCUs and especially those in the SWAC have taken notice, and they’re now looking to try and emulate the same formula and bring prestige to their universities.