Jackson State Head Football Coach Deion Sanders has become a legitimate candidate for the head coaching position at TCU. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sanders interviewed for the job Monday. A Jackson State official declined to comment on the matter to the newspaper.
“I’m not saying he is going to get the job, not saying he’s the leading candidate at this point,” a source close to the selection committee told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “but he is in the mix. He was impressive.”
The coaching carousel around college football is nothing new. Coaches leaving smaller programs to grab more money and more of the national attention at other places has been transpiring for decades. But with Sanders, this is bigger than just the regular mundane coaching rumors. The eight-time NFL pro-bowler brings his flash and charisma everywhere he has gone, Jackson State and the HBCU community have been no exception.
When “Primetime” was hired by Jackson State in September of 2020, there was a mix of excitement, anticipation, and pessimism in the HBCU community. Many had questions about his past as a coach after the debacle at Prime Prep and thought Sanders would make the position too much about himself. Others were elated to see where the former Super Bowl champion could take the program.
In the year and few months since he took over, it’s been no question that Sanders has had an impact on HBCU football and the HBCU community. The amount of attention that he has garnered for Jackson State and the rest of division one HBCU football because of his status and flash has certainly been impactful.
He has become a major point of interest for media pundits, fans, and other HBCUs since he signed on the dotted line to come to Jackson, Mississippi. Now in just his second season, he has this Jackson State program sitting with an undefeated record in the SWAC and at 8-1 overall. Even amid a foot surgery that has had Sanders absent from the Tigers sideline the last few games, Jackson State still has a great shot at playing in the Celebration Bowl this year.
While Sanders has had an important role in HBCU football this past year, the current revitalization of the sport can be contributed to the implementation of the Celebration Bowl in 2015 and the number of players from HBCUs that have seen recent success in the NFL such as Pro Bowlers like the Colts’ Darius Leonard from South Carolina State and the Bears’ Tarik Cohen from North Carolina A&T. Also, the national conversation around these historic institutions has started to pick up since the murder of George Floyd sparked a racial awakening in this country. More and more people are starting to see the value in not only HBCU sports but in the HBCU community in general.
So even if Sanders decided to take his talents elsewhere this would by no means be a death sentence for HBCU football. Just like always the HBCU community would continue to move forward and grow.
If Sanders is chosen for the position he would replace Gary Patterson, who was the winningest coach in TCU history. Patterson resigned from the role he held for more than 20 years on Halloween. Sanders is a reported candidate along with SMU’s Sonny Dykes, Louisiana’s Billy Napier, Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
Sanders is under contract with Jackson State until December 2024. He currently makes $300,000 per year. If Sanders were to end the contract with the University, he would owe Jackson State 50% of the remaining value of his deal.