The HBCU community has expressed its unwavering belief in Deion Sanders’ dedication to Jackson State University and enhancing the culture of Black college football.
Sanders has continuously said that he isn’t going to leave Jackson State after a few solid seasons, as most brand name coaches do after taking over small programs and proving they have what it takes to lead an organization. They often bounce to greener pastures, but Deion was supposed to be different.
The TCU Job Is A Real Thing For Deion Sanders
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sanders has put himself squarely in the mix to become TCU’s next coach, a source close to the university’s selection committee told the newspaper.
Sanders has missed JSU’s last three games while recovering from foot/toe surgery and also nursing what’s being described as an undisclosed illness. As a result of these various medical problems, Sanders spent extended time in the hospital. The major concern was when and if Sanders would return to see his team hoist the SWAC championship.
Now that Sanders officially had a first interview with TCU officials on Monday, and according to sources, impressed the university, the threat of him leaving Jackson State seems to be very real. In fact, sources say he’s expected to make the cut for the second round of interviews.
“I’m not saying he is going to get the job, not saying he’s the leading candidate at this point,” the source said according to star-telegram.com, “ but he is in the mix. He was impressive.”
Power Schools Pillage The Best Black Talent & Coaching
If true, this is horrible news for Jackson State. Everybody thought Coach Prime was locked in. An outlier attempting to do something that has never been done. HBCU programs have never been more than steppingstones for coaches with great ambition who lack the hands-on experience needed to secure a plush gig at a Power School or major D-1 program.
Coach Prime initially set out to change that, even bringing his sons Shedeur and Shilo along for what was supposed to be a legendary ride for the Sanders family and the future of HBCU athletics.
When it was reported that TCU — which fired longtime coach Gary Patterson in early November with four games remaining on the schedule — had Coach Prime on its list of potential coaches, few people took the news seriously.
Texas Christian University is not the first football program to publicly express its desire to sign the biggest brand in HBCU sports and one of the most high profile people in football (who also happens to be an ace recruiter).
Deion’s alma mater Florida State was also rumored to be scheming on JSU’s savior. USC was rumored to be interested, but Deion didn’t return the love and, to our knowlege, he certainly didn’t have a meeting with any of those schools.
What’s Deion Sanders’ Endgame?
The Deion Sanders saga just got more interesting. The Pro Football Hall of Famer has implanted himself as the heartbeat and hope of HBCU culture. Sanders proclaimed his arrival as a total revamping of every negative stereotype, systemic hurdle and lack of resources that HBCU programs have endured for years.
If Sanders is seriously pursuing this TCU job, then he would be crushing the spirit of a lot of believers. He would also prove everyone right who said Deion was in it for fame, fortune and personal elevation.
Let’s give the man more credit than that. Maybe Deion is just being Deion. His ego is the driving force behind everything he does, even when it’s working in unison with his huge heart. Let’s not forget he’s also a businessman and he doesn’t mind being sweated by big-time programs.
When schools with 10 times the resources as Jackson State make a blatant run at Coach Prime, at the very least, it increases his leverage with his current employer and also makes him look even more dedicated to the “cause” after he turns the offer down.
Should Jackson State be alarmed? Yes, but at the end of the day Coach Prime has integrity, and that may be enough to keep him in Mississippi at least a few more years. Shedeur Sanders’ NFL draft prospects will also be a deciding factor.
If Deion feels like he can get his son to the next level playing in the SWAC (a la Steve “Air” McNair and Doug Williams) then there’s even less reason to leave JSU. If Big 12 competition makes a difference in how NFL scouts perceive Shedeur‘s NFL compatibility, then Pops might have another reason to break away from the HBCU community.
Just get used to him coaching with one foot on the field and one foot out the door.