He Might Be the Biggest Story in Sports Right Now

'Coach Prime' Deion Sanders has transformed the University of Colorado football program
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2023 11:10 AM CDT
'Coach Prime' Might Just Be the Biggest Story in Sports
Colorado head coach Deion Sanders, right, hugs his son, safety Shilo Sanders, after he returned an interception for a touchdown in the first half against Colorado State on Saturday in Boulder, Colorado.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Even less-than-casual sports fans are likely to remember the name of Deion Sanders from his days in the NFL. These days, the Hall of Famer is coaching college football, and some remarkable descriptions are being thrown around about the man who calls himself "Coach Prime." Coverage:

  • The buzz: Sanders is in his first year coaching the University of Colorado, which went 1-11 last year and is 3-0 so far this year. He "hasn't just awoken a dormant program ... but has transformed it into the talk of college football, if not American sports," writes Jon Wertheim in a 60 Minutes profile. Remarkably, it's the show's second profile of Sanders in as many seasons—last year's came in his third and final year at Jackson State, whose program he similarly transformed. "Sanders is revered. He is reviled. But his sudden impact is indisputable," writes Wertheim. "For the second time, in two radically different environments, unapologetic as ever, he's shaken the sport like a snow globe."
  • Echoing that: Colorado "football is suddenly one of the hottest tickets on Earth, catnip for celebrities and star athletes in other sports," observes Jason Gay in a Wall Street Journal profile. "Coach Prime, meanwhile, is the sun. Only Sanders can make a global movie star like the Rock feel like the second-most famous person in a mountain town." Gay also notes that Colorado has two tough games coming up, against Oregon and then USC, and a 3-2 record by month's end might well put a damper on the buzz. A 5-0 record, on the other hand....
  • The Rock: Yes, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson did indeed attend Saturday's thrilling double-OT win over Colorado State, and he paid tribute before the game with words that seemed to genuinely move Sanders, per Yahoo Sports. "He's changing the face of college football and he's doing it his way," Johnson said. "But he's also doing it in a way—and this is the hard part—that is galvanizing not only a town in Boulder, Colorado, but also galvanizing an entire country." Watch it here.

  • Family affair: Colorado's star quarterback, Shedeur Sanders, is Deion's son. (Even Tom Brady was impressed after Shedeur's game-tying 98-yard touchdown drive.) Another son, Shilo Sanders, returned an interception for a TD on Saturday. During the same game, Colorado State's Louis Brown scored a touchdown and trolled the elder Sanders by mimicking his old "Deion Shuffle," notes Sports Illustrated (watch that here). All of it adds up to what J. Brady McCollough of the Los Angeles Times calls "must-see TV." Deion, he adds, "just gets the stage life."
  • The challenge: In the 60 Minutes interview, Sanders artfully dodged questions about his abrupt departure from Jackson State, but he spoke about leaving for a team that was in a deep funk. "God wouldn't relocate me to something that was successful," he said. "That don't make sense, do it? He had to find the most disappointing and the most difficult task. And this is what it was. And this is what it is. And I love that."
  • Is the NFL next? "I would never do that," Sanders told the NFL Network's Rich Eisen in an interview, explaining that he would find it difficult to motivate players with multimillion-dollar contracts. Mike Florio of NBC Sports isn't so sure about that, writing, "Frankly, I think he's selling himself short."
(Read more college football stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.