All eyes are on CU Boulder’s football program as Coach Deion Sanders navigates his first year as head coach.
Since the announcement of Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ addition to CU Boulder’s coaching staff, the world of college football has been buzzing. For Colorado Buffalo fans, this came as good news. After a record of 1-11 in the 2022 season, the team needed a change, and Sanders’ addition brought new hope to fans and students alike. Previously, Sanders was the head coach for the Jackson State University football team, where he turned the football program there around from bad to brand new. The Buffs brought him on hoping that he could do the same for their program. Plus, Sanders is so much more than just the head coach of a college football team. He is a part of a newfound influence of college football coaches and has impacted the media, different aspects of the game, and the university as a whole.
His “brand” has shaped the media more than anything. His sunglasses, cowboy hat, and Colorado hoodie have become his signature look and even a meme among social media. After CU’s loss to Stanford, Saturday Night Live poked a little fun at the head coach. Sanders took the skit lightly and praised SNL for the portrayal. So much media attention on Sanders has brought many big celebrities to Boulder as well. Some of the biggest include Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, LeBron James, Jay Z, and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. Eyes are on the Buffs now more than ever.
While Sanders has been criticized for the way he approaches talking about the game, his coaching style seems to be a breath of fresh air. Throughout multiple press conferences, whether it be a win or a loss, Coach Prime speaks about his team with sole positivity. He has a lot of hope for the program and for his players. In a recent press conference preparing for the last home game of the season against the University of Arizona, Sanders was tackled with questions about the recent losses and what his plans are for the end of the season. He never once used any negative language towards his team nor his coaching staff. With the urgency of winning the final games of the season with a Bowl game bid up for grabs, Coach Prime seems to have a lot of hope in his team. “We’re not where we wanna be, but we ain’t where we used to be,” Sanders exclaimed. Sanders has approached coaching with both analytical and emotional thinking that is highly respected by many.
His coaching has brought new life to CU, whether it be socially or even economically. CU has sold out every single one of their home games this season for the first time in school history, and as Folsom Field celebrates its 100th season, pride throughout the school has skyrocketed. The economic impact is tremendous; Sanders even released merchandise with “Coach Prime” printed across it. Not only have his own branded items been a sellout, but CU merchandise sales have risen as well. Forbes reported that “there has been nearly a 1,000% increase in sales since last year, and September sales were up 2,544% over last September.”
The town of Boulder is benefiting from the “Prime Effect” as well. Forbes also reported that “local tourism has boomed to unprecedented levels, invigorating tailgates and sports bars and hotels – projecting over $100 million of local economic impact across six home games.” His impact can be seen all around the university, not just in the football program. When he first arrived at the university, he helped open CU’s new center for African and African American studies, proving that his work for the university has gone farther than just the football program.
Overall, Coach Prime’s influence has been monumental for CU. From an unpredictable win against TCU to being two games away from becoming Bowl eligible as the regular season comes to an end, Sanders is definitely leaving his mark on CU football. He has changed the way college football is approached and is widening the audience that it appeals to. Time will only tell what Sanders is able to accomplish with the CU team. Buffalo fans can only hope that he can lead the team to a national title in the near future.