JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson State University is still riding high after scoring a pro-football hall of fame player to lead its football team.
Deion “Prime Time” Sanders accepted the head coaching job with a commitment to making the team and university bigger and better.
But many are wondering how did they do it?
I sat down with the acting President and Athletic Director to ask that question--- and many more about Prime Time.
“Everyone loves Deion Sanders. His name speaks from himself,” said JSU athletic director Ashley Robinson.
NFL great Deion Sanders is the new head coach at Jackson State.
Director of Athletics, Ashley Robinson was the man who helped make it happen.
He says out of more than 100 applicants vying for the job, Prime Time was the perfect match for JSU.
“A lot of people saw this coming and a lot of people didn’t see this coming. A lot of people didn’t believe. That is one of the things. The new motto is ‘I Believe’, and I want my alumni to believe. We had a good conversation and great meetings with him, and we knew this was the right fit, we are very excited about it and it is something we really want to do. As we talk to our alumni base and talk to our hall of farmers and our former student athletes, this was a no brainier.”
Acting President Thomas Hudson says JSU is always striving to attract great leaders and talent to make the University better and this new hire is a great example of that..
“It’s an exciting time in itself. It’s really a testament to the brand and the history and just the greatness of JSU that Coach Prime would want to make this the next step in this coaching journey. A testament to our athletic director and having that vision and really having the guts to go after Deion Sanders,” said Hudson.
But the big question is how Jackson State get a 2 time Super Bowl champion 8 time Pro Bowler like Sanders to commit.
“When he looked at the tradition of Jackson State. When he looked at the NFL Hall of Famers. One of his teammates, Houston Hoover played for Jackson State, they played together in Atlanta. They are very good friends. He had a lot of ties and people that he knew him encouraged him and talk about Jackson State University. He wanted to be a head coach,” said Robinson.
With football season for JSU less than five months away and season tickets now on sale, JSU says the goal is to create a winning JSU tiger team with Coach Prime at the helm.
“We are looking for wins, we are definitely looking for wins. We are excited about that. I think recruiting is going to step up with Coach Prime being our coach. We are looking for competitive football, and we’re looking to definitely to win some games each and every weekend. As you know our season starts in the spring this year, so we’re starting February 21st. Just ironic everything starts on the 21st now,” Robinson
And Hudson and Robinson are also optimistic that Prime Time’s popularity, talent and commitment to this historically black college will be a game changer for the university, Jackson and the state.
“Really bringing a lot of positive attention. He is really a good person, a solid person who wants to be in the community and wants to be a part of not only the JSU family, but also the Jackson family. Obviously, when JSU football is really going well and when you have the fans here that means more dollars, more tourism dollars, more dollars for hotels and restaurants, so it is just going to have a positive economic impact and social impact on the city,” said Hudson