Coach Prime Talks Football, NIL, and Inspiring Dreams

The Pro Football Hall of Famer discussed his coaching philosophy, the upcoming college football season, and his partnership with Boost Mobile.

The name Deion "Coach Prime" Sanders is synonymous with athletic excellence. From being a standout at Florida State University to playing in the NFL and MLB, Sanders appeared in the World Series in 1992 and won two Super Bowl titles as the only athlete to play in both a Super Bowl and a World Series.

Playing for the Atlanta Falcons, the San Francisco 49ers, the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Commanders, and the Baltimore Ravens. As a cornerback and return specialist, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

On the sidelines, “Coach Prime” made his mark at Jackson State University. Under his leadership, the HBCU became a nationally recognized program where he was named SWAC Coach of the Year on two occasions, and the team went undefeated in 2022, with 12 players from his team being named all-SWAC team.

In 2023, Sanders was named head coach of the University of Colorado Boulder, and his impact was immediate as his squad defeated TCU. This team played in the national championship in 2022 the season opener.

With, Sanders shared his plans for his team’s upcoming season and NIL's positive and negative aspects (Name, Image, and Likeness) on college athletics.

“I'm happy about NIL because players who are truly making a difference, who are going to get it deserve it. But I want them to keep in mind that they’re playing for a bigger prize and that's the NFL,” Sanders told “So you can’t get lackadaisical that you don’t work hard because you got a ship sailing in of thousands of dollars each month that you can help family members and all that.”

“I just don't like family members applying pressure on players. They really don't know how to navigate life at this point,” he continued. “I don't like that. But I do love that these kids are being compensated for their name, image, and likeness. Since that's the case, you got to collect it.”

After posting a 4-8 record in his first season at Colorado, Coach Priime is looking to build on the momentum the Buffaloes built last season with his son Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter leading the way. He also noted that he’s bringing in a top-tier class of recruits to add to his already talented roster.

“We’re going to win. We have an expectation to win. We provided a tremendous amount of hope for this whole state city and so forth. Now, the goal is to win and to win decisively,” Sanders explained. “We want to do it. We want to get it done. And we have some wonderful fans, our fan base is tremendous. I think that every game sold out last season and on the road. People want to see us do what we do. And we've added a lot to the journey. And we've added a lot of promising young players to the journey.”

In his first season, Coach Prime has built a culture that would take the average college coach years to cultivate and maintain. Sanders turned Boulder, Colorado, into the place to be on Saturdays that attracted. When asked if he expected to have such an impact so quickly, he didn’t hesitate to share that it was all a part of the plan. 

“I expect major things because I never underestimate how powerful God is. That's what I'm employed by,” Sanders said. “So I always expect to exceed expectations.”                                                                                         

Along with a standard of excellence on the field, Sanders also raises the bar for how his players conduct themselves as student-athletes. After a professor emailed him about the behavior of some of his players in the classroom, Sanders used it as a teaching moment that his followers saw on social media. He said that his passion is to produce NFL players and educated men who will make a difference in the world.

“I want these young men to understand that probably 95% of each team at most universities aren't going pro so what's your plan? What are you going to do with what you got going? I want them to get something out of the relationship. Don't come out of the relationship with nothing. At least leave with a degree,” Sanders explained.

“Don't come out of this naked with nothing. That makes no sense whatsoever. That's a fool to me. So I really am pro-teacher on this,” Sanders went on. “First, I don't like seeing anyone mistreated or disrespected. I don't care who they are. Your professor is trying to instruct you so I don't condone that.

During his playing days, Sanders took his career into his own hands so he would have the best opportunities available to him, and he wants the same for his son and Hunter, who are projected to be drafted when they leave Colorado. He recently stated that he wants his star players to go to a team that will invest in their success.

“It's been done before but it makes a difference when it comes from an African American male who is unapologetic,” Sanders said. “This has been done by a couple of players, such as myself. I  told several teams, ‘I'm going to play baseball if you draft me.’ Then I landed in the spot that I wanted to land in, which was with the Atlanta Falcons.”

‘Many people try to discount the fact that I played 14 years in the NFL and spent another  20 years on television talking about the NFL. So I have relationships with numerous owners, GMs, and television networks, and I know how they truly operate. I know who's not in it to win, and you don't want that for your child,” Sanders added. “So I'm happy if they're happy, and I know they want to go somewhere committed to winning.”

Along with his thriving second career as a coach, Sanders has partnered with Boost Mobile to launch an exclusive “Coach Prime” Motorola Razr smartphone. It also features a striking gold and black finish with Prime’s mantra, “You Gotta Believe,” and his personal signature.

“I'm in love with my new flip phone. It has my mantra on it, “You gotta believe. I love that Boost Mobile has been investing in and building out the most advanced wireless network for the past few years and working in underserved communities,” Sanders said. “It's an ideal time and I'm excited about it. I love the team because, like me, they're known for motivating, taking chances, and challenging the status quo.”

Whether it's coaching or collaborating with Boost Mobile, Coach Prime is always seeking to live his best life and wants to inspire others to do the same.

“I want people to dream. No matter what you’re going through, you have to dream,” Sanders said. “So when you’re looking at a phone and you don't know what you're going through that day, and you see something that says,” You gotta believe” it’s like, ‘Hey, I don't believe in myself who will?’ So it's all motivation and inspiration. It's always that sort. And I’m 100% about that.”

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