Deion Sanders brings familiar flair to the Colorado introduction

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Half politician, half preacher, and half pitcher Deion Sanders cheered on a crowd of alumni, boosters, former players and other VIPs who celebrated his tenure as Colorado’s coach on Sunday.

He spat out motivational slogans that he promised would soon adorn the walls inside the complex at Folsom Field, and he vowed to bring the seedy Buffaloes back to prominence after a 27-5 in three seasons at Jackson State.

“I’ve assembled the best coaching staff, some of the best scouts, some of the best kids we’re recruiting, some are already coming out as I speak,” Sanders told the crowd of hundreds, who cheered and roared at his answers, among those Dozens of reporters at his introductory press conference.

“And now that I’m here, I see it and I understand it, and I can grasp it and I can touch it, I can feel it, I can taste it,” Sanders added. “I really understand what you want – all you want is the opportunity to win. Compete. Dominate. Belong to the elite. Be among the best.

“And damn it, I’ll give it to you.”

But first, he reminded everyone, “I have to work in Jackson, Mississippi.”

Sanders said he will coach the undefeated Tigers December 17 in the Celebration Bowl, the championship for historically black college football programs

Then he can fully focus on resuscitating the Buffaloes.

“At the same time, like I played baseball and football, I can multitask and focus,” said Sanders, the former NFL and major league superstar and the only athlete to ever compete in both the Super Bowl and the World Series has played.

“This is my job and my profession and my business and my dream to take you back to where you know you belong,” Sanders said.

One person with knowledge of Sanders’ contract told The Associated Press that it’s $29.5 million plus incentives over five years, starting at $5.5 million the first year. Annual incentives include $150,000 for six wins and $100,000 for each win after six, $150,000 for a bowl seat, and $200,000 for a New Year’s Eve six-bowl invitation.

If he wins a national title after the 1990 season, as CU did under coach Bill McCartney, Sanders would receive an additional $750,000.

Sanders is already assembling his staff, exploring the transfer portal and reaching out to five-star high school recruits to help him set up a program that has had just one successful full-length season since joining Pac-12 in 2011 would have.

At one point, Sanders challenged his son, Shedeur Sanders, to stand up.

“That’s your quarterback,” he told the crowd, who responded with one of his biggest cheers.

Some recent developments will help Sanders attract the elite athletes that are expected to flock to campus.

The school recently created a fundraising collective that will create a pool of funds to enable Colorado to compete with its conference competitors in name, image and likeness deals.

The university also relaxed its rules on transfer credits, a move that will allow Sanders to compete with established football powerhouses across the country.

“A game changer,” marveled Daniel Graham, the former Buffaloes and NFL tight end. “Now we are on an equal footing with all other universities. So now we can get some big transfers in here.”

Sanders then met with his players Jackson State defeated Southern 43-24 in the Southwest Athletic Conference championship on Saturday night to let them know he’s taking the job in Colorado.

Then he flew to Boulder and visit the football facilities and scenic campus stadium. He took the field despite a throbbing left foot; Sanders had two toes amputated last year due to blood clots.

“It’s a wonderful situation. This city is amazing,” Sanders said.

CU fans are expecting a quick turnaround under Sanders, similar to Southern California’s reversal from 4-8 last year to 11-2 this season under first-year coach Lincoln Riley.

Sanders made a promise but no timeline.

“It may not happen as quickly as you would like, but it will happen,” Sanders said. “We will win. It will happen. I’m not going to put a timetable on it, but it will happen.”

Sanders brings a mix of old-school discipline and newfangled edge as he transitioned from Prime Time to Coach Prime as one of the greatest dual-sport pro athletes of all time.

“Sometimes I might look like an old fool, but I’m just old school,” he said. “Guys, now that we’re done with this work, I just want you guys to know that we’re on our way. Not to compete but to win. Not to show up, but to show off. Not to be among the others, but to be the absolute best. We come to work. We don’t come to play. We come to kill, not kick.

“Baby, I have to believe we’re coming. You need to feel that energy within you that we’re coming,” Sanders continued like a preacher from the pulpit. “If you come to this stadium you have to get in early because by kick off baby we’re coming. You understand it? do you feel that Do you understand the intensity, the excitement, the adrenaline, the rush I’m having right now that I can’t wait for this thing to get going because we’re coming?

Sanders may be seen as the savior, but he said it was he who was humiliated.

“Boulder, Colorado, you have no idea what you have blessed me with, the opportunity you are giving me, and I feel like I owe you one,” he said. “So I will work for you every day. I will make an effort for you. I develop for you. I will commit to you. I will do the things that others would not do.

“Baby, here we come. So someone asked you something, ‘When is he coming back?’ You say, ‘I don’t know, but I know he’s coming.’”


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