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For “Coach Prime” Deion Sanders and the Jackson State Tigers football program, the hits just keep on coming. In the latest of many historic feats, JSU will become the first HBCU program to have its annual spring game televised in what is to be a landmark event.
The game is set to take place on Sunday, April 24th at 5 p.m. EST. on ESPNU.
The incredibly bright spotlight that once shined on Deion Sanders is now being lit for the benefit of JSU’s football program, the city of Jackson, Mississippi, and HBCU culture at large. And he knows it.
Coach Prime stated in a school release, “Being the first HBCU to have our spring game nationally televised is a monumental leap in the right direction for Jackson State and all HBCUs. It’s time that we’re seen, heard and recognized.”
While several sports pundits and media critics criticized and questioned Sanders’ move to JSU as Head Coach, he’s done more than enough to quiet his loudest skeptics. Last season, he led the school to its first-ever 11-win season, first SWAC title in 14 years, and its first appearance in the championship Celebration Bowl. He did all this while dealing with complications following toe surgery, which caused him to have two toes amputated.
Undeterred, Coach Deion Sanders also landed two top-50 recruits and 14 transfers who are all expected to contribute next season to the retooled roster.
Not only does Coach Prime win, but he brings in the money from all pockets. During the 2021 season, JSU had five of its games televised on ESPN networks. There was also a deal with Under Armour, which coincides with Barstool Sports. On top of that, Sanders scored a deal with soft drink giant Pepsi to be the official supplier of the SWAC through 2023. None of this was happening until Sanders arrived at JSU.
Deion Sanders and Jackson State University win together.
Under Coach Prime’s leadership, JSU set a new FCS attendance record of more than 42,000 fans per game, sparking preliminary talks about a new stadium for the school. The city of Jackson, which struggled mightily throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, also saw an increase in revenue from barely $16 million in 2019 to over $30 million in 2021.
After only having been with JSU just over 18 months, Coach Prime is leaving a gigantic impact where it’s felt most – with his people.