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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Jackson State University Names New Football Coach As Details Of Deion Sanders' Contract Are Revealed

Sanders unexpectedly left his former position for a more lucrative offering at the University of Colorado.

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Deion Sanders speaks after being introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Colorado during a news conference Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. Sanders left Jackson State University after three seasons at the helm of the school’s football team.
Deion Sanders speaks after being introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Colorado during a news conference Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. Sanders left Jackson State University after three seasons at the helm of the school’s football team.
Photo: David Zalubowski (AP)

Jackson State University has named the coach who will lead its football program into the post-Coach Prime era. On Tuesday, JSU Athletic Director Ashley Robinson named current wide receivers position coach T.C. Taylor to succeed outgoing head football coach Deion Sanders next season.

Sanders, an inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, announced on Dec. 3 that he was leaving Jackson State to become head football coach at the University of Colorado—trading in an HBCU program of which he had previously spoken highly for an opportunity to lead a predominantly white institution thats football program was last relevant when Kordell Stewart did the damn thing in 1994.

Stewart, best known for his time in the NFL as a starting QB for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, has said in recent weeks that he’d be open to returning to Colorado to join Sanders’ staff as a position coach. Taylor, meanwhile, now has the daunting task of following one of the most famous players to ever strap on a helmet or stalk a sideline.

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Though the school was quickly able to find a replacement, it’s important to recognize that Sander’s shocking resignation has already had some serious ripple effects. A number of top high school recruits have withdrawn from JSU as a result of Sanders’ departure. Therefore, Taylor’s ability to maintain attention on the Jackson State program without the clout and spectacle that Sanders brought—and keep the team in contention for Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and Celebration Bowl bids—will be the ultimate litmus test.

Success for Taylor will be measured by whether he’s able to build upon the progress that largely came as a result of Sanders’ name recognition and charisma, arguably a tall order. Meanwhile, the number of zeros and dollar signs behind Deion Sanders’ new contract at the University of Colorado prove why jumping from Jackson State University might not have been that difficult a decision for him, despite the disappointment and criticism he’s taken from HBCU alumni and advocates.

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The details of the new contract were originally reported by the Denver Post. Sanders’ deal will pay him $29.5 million over five years in base pay and incentives, making him the Pac-12 program’s highest-paid head football coach in history. That figure is 24.6 times the value of Sanders’ four-year deal at Jackson State, and it stands out even more considering Sanders donated half a year’s salary toward the building of a new athletic facility at JSU and was required to pay back $300,000 for leaving a year before his total contract was up.

Coach Prime’s deal at Colorado is similar to his deal at JSU in at least one way: If he decides to leave early again, he’ll owe the school back some of that scratch. But it’ll be a lot more costly—between $5 million and $15 million, depending on how many years are left on his contract if and when he decides to roll out.

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Sanders oversaw a Jackson State program that had an unprecedented run of success, attracting attention on the field, with recruiting, with donors and in the media. 

Despite that, opinions about his early departure are still greatly divided between those who praise what he accomplished and those who thought those accomplishments were only temporary and in the service of his own self interest.