Colorado Buffaloes May Offer Vacant Head Coaching Job to Deion Sanders

Posted on: November 28, 2022, 11:51h. 

Last updated on: November 28, 2022, 12:37h.

The Colorado Buffaloes are desperate to revitalize their demoralized college football program and Deion “Primetime” Sanders could be the right head coach to revamp the Pac-12 school.

Deoin Sanders head coach Colorado Buffs Jackson State Primetime
Head coach Deion Sanders, seen here on the sidelines of a Jackson State game, is the leading candidate to fill a vacancy at Colorado. (Image: AP)

Colorado fired head coach Karl Dorrell after an 0-5 start. The Buffs lost all five games by at least 23 points. Offensive Coordinator Mike Stanford took over as interim head coach and won his first game at the helm. Colorado then lost their final six games to finish 1-11 overall. They were tied with Stanford for last place in the Pac-12 this season.

Aside from a pandemic-shortened six-game season in 2020, during which Colorado went 4-2, it’s been a difficult stretch, with 14 losing seasons dating back to 2005.

Colorado last won a bowl game in 2004 under Gary Barnett in the Houston Bowl. They qualified for four bowl games since then and lost all four appearances.

Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011. They’ve had only one winning full season in 2016, when head coach Mike MacIntyre led the Buffs to a 10-4 record.

The Carolina Panthers fired Matt Rhule midseason after a disastrous tenure in the NFL. He was a stellar college head coach who turned around floundering programs at Temple and Baylor. Colorado and Arizona State were a couple of Pac-12 teams interested in Rhule, but he headed to the Big Ten after Nebraska hired him to make the Cornhuskers relevant again.

With Rhule out of contention, Sanders emerged as the top candidate at Colorado.

‘Primetime’ Sanders to Save Colorado?

Sanders made headlines several years ago when the former NFL star took over as head coach of Jackson State, even though he lacked head coaching experience.

Sanders wanted to help boost the profile of HBCU schools, especially Jackson State. He helped turn the Tigers around, and they’ve gone 22-1 in the last two seasons, including an 11-0 record in 2022. Overall, Sanders is 26-5 as a head coach.

Colorado and USF are interested in hiring Sanders as their next head coach. Sanders has yet to make a decision on his future, but Colorado is banking on Sanders’ success with Jackson State as a blueprint for creating a winning culture in Boulder.

Colorado narrowed its head coach search to a few of candidates, including Sanders, Bronco Mendenhall, Tom Herman, and Ryan Walters.

Mendenhall is the former head coach at BYU and Virginia. He went 99-43 with BYU and had 10 winning seasons during his 11-year stint with the Cougars. He struggled at Virginia with a 36-38 record before stepping down at the end of last season.

Herman coached at Texas and Houston, where he amassed a 54-22 career record and six combined winning seasons. He’s currently an offensive analyst with the Chicago Bears.

Walters played safety at Colorado in the mid-2000s and his father was the quarterback for the Buffs in the late 1980s. He’s been the defensive coordinator at Illinois for the past two seasons and could get his first head coaching job in Boulder if Colorado wants to hire an alum.

‘Primetime:’ Two-Way Star in the 1990s

Sanders is a former two-sport athlete who played in the NFL and MLB. He made history in 1992 when he suited up for the Atlanta Falcons in a day game on Sunday, then joined the Atlanta Braves for a baseball game that evening. In 1989, Sanders hit a home run with the New York Yankees and scored a touchdown with the Falcons in the same week.

Sanders earned the “Primetime” moniker for his flashy play in high school and the nickname spread during his tenure at Florida State in the late 1980s. The Atlanta Falcons drafted Sanders with the fifth-overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft.

Sanders had standout seasons in the NFL as a cornerback and kick returner with the Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, and Dallas Cowboys. He won two Super Bowls, earned eight trips to the Pro Bowl, and won the 1994 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Sanders was a multisport star in Fort Myers, Fla., who got drafted by the Kansas City Royals out of high school. He went to college to play football at FSU, but the New York Yankees drafted Sanders in 1988. Sanders played for the Yankees, Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and San Francisco Giants during his MLB career.