When Deion Sanders stepped onto the scene many were excited, and to be honest, many others were not.
Much like his football career, with his personality and what he represents, it was almost natural to predict some of the backlash and ill will that was sure to come towards Sanders.
Fans and celebrities alike flooded to their television sets or to Boulder itself to cheer on The Buffs, while others tuned in hoping Sanders and his team fail miserably each week. All of this in just a few weeks of the season.
Despite what the critics may say, Sanders and his recruiting staff have already been massively successful and are breaking barriers for Black coaches to be able to stand out and lead top athletic programs.
The importance of this season alone speaks volumes about the aspects of change. Make no mistake — as a Black head coach, Deion Sanders is still an anomaly amongst Division I football programs. However, this could and should become a norm throughout many schools.
The Excitement that We’ve Built
In the grand scheme of it all, Colorado football has been more popular than ever, and it’s all from the results and endeavors of Sanders and his staff. Despite the lack of opportunities elsewhere, as they reflect upon what they’ve been able to do, they are proud of what they’ve accomplished thus far.
“I mean, frankly, there’s just not enough of us,” said Assistant Director of Player Personnel Chandler Dorrell. “We haven’t been afforded a whole lot of opportunities and it’s exciting for me to see just Coach Prime and the excitement that we’ve built. Hopefully, that’ll have an impact on others to give other African-American men roles of leadership and allow them to impact other men.”
Out of 135, Only 15 are Black
The staff also reflected upon the significantly low number of Black coaches at Division I schools. Director of Recruiting, Darrius Darden-Box, said representation in leadership is “very important.”
“Out of 135 Division I schools, only 15 head coaches are Black,” he said. “80% of each team, 75% of each team, African-American kids. So, you know, our leadership, our staff, looking like our players, I think that’s very important. And, you know, we can lead, as you can see.”
It is important to highlight the value of compatibility among players and staff. Not to say those of different backgrounds cannot achieve the best from student-athletes, but the idea of working with someone with the same walk of life should not be frowned upon either. If given the chance, it can be very fruitful for all that attend.
Much like Jackie Robinson and his story, Deion Sanders is leading a change in college sports. One could raise the question that more opportunities for head coaching and staff positions should be prioritized for Black and other minority leaders that know the game of football.