Oct 19, 2022
Deion Sanders: The 60 Minutes Interview Transcript
Deion Sanders is altering the landscape of sports once again. This time as head football coach at Jackson State University. Read the transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Bill Owens (00:04):
His personality is flamboyant as his football talent, Deion Sanders had two nicknames during his Hall of Fame NFL career. He was Neon Deion and Primetime. But for his latest gig, Sanders high stepped it to Mississippi, and at age 55, he’s now the Head Football Coach at Jackson State, an historically Black University or HBCU. Sanders’ salary of $500,000 is less than 5% of what. One state over, Alabama pays its Coach Nick Saban. Yet Jackson State might be the hottest program in America, poaching talented recruits and winning games in equal measure. Powered by, yes, the style, but also the substance of the man who now calls himself Coach Prime.
Speaker 2 (00:50):
The story will continue in a moment.
Speaker 3 (00:56):
Fans, welcome your defending’s right champion.
Bill Owens (01:00):
Deion Sanders had never coached in college when he agreed two years ago to try and rescue Jackson State from football irrelevance.
Why are you here?
Deion Sanders (01:10):
I truly believe with all my heart and soul that God called me collect, and I had to accept the charges.
Bill Owens (01:16):
You accepted the charges.
Deion Sanders (01:17):
I had to accept the charges, but understanding when you accept those type of charges is going to cost you something.
Bill Owens (01:24):
What’s it cost you?
Deion Sanders (01:25):
A lot of sleep, but I can’t say I don’t love it. I love every darn minute of it.
Bill Owens (01:33):
It doesn’t hurt that his team is darn good. The Jackson State Tigers are blazing through their HBCU football opponents 11 and two last season, undefeated so far this season.
Deion Sanders (01:45):
Everybody do their job. Just do your job.
Bill Owens (01:47):
Watch the Tigers rack up points led by Dion’s son, quarterback Shedeur Sanders, and you wonder how they’d fare against the football elites, the so-called Power Five schools.
Deion Sanders (02:02):
Bill Owens (02:03):
Sanders took the job at Jackson State three months after George Floyd’s murder, timing he says that was no coincidence.
Deion Sanders (02:10):
It was relevant because a lot of folks sit back with Twitter fingers and talk about what they’re going to do, and I wanted to go do it.
Bill Owens (02:20):
Deion Sanders (02:21):
Change lives. Change the perspective of HBCU football. Make everyone step up to the plate and do what’s right by these kids.
Bill Owens (02:32):
Ashley Robinson, Jackson State’s athletic director, pursued rumors that Sanders might be interested in coaching and offered him a job.
Deion Sanders (02:40):
What’s been the impact here at Jackson State since he’s arrived?
Ashley Robinson (02:42):
Coach Prime was the biggest hire in college football. I’m talking about Power Five level. He’s the biggest hire in college football.
Bill Owens (02:49):
All of college football?
Ashley Robinson (02:49):
All of college football. There’s no other Deion Sanders.
Bill Owens (02:52):
What’s Deion Sanders worth to Jackson State?
Ashley Robinson (02:55):
Woo. I don’t think I can put a number on that. I don’t think it’s enough zeros. I mean, he’s worth a whole lot.
Bill Owens (03:00):
The bump in attendance, buzz and commerce is especially welcome in a city marked by poverty, deprivation that can be glimpsed just on the other side of the fence from the JSU football facility. The program was depressed as well. Time was Jackson State produced four Hall of Fame NFL players, including running back Walter Peyton. But when Sanders arrived, not one Jackson State player had been drafted in 12 years.
What struck you about being here on this campus?
Deion Sanders (03:31):
Bill Owens (03:32):
What kind of needs are you sensing here?
Deion Sanders (03:34):
You want to start an alphabetical order or in numerical?
Bill Owens (03:40):
Sanders was immediately confronted with the economic realities of HBCUs and with the social cleavages of Mississippi.
What were the facilities like?
Deion Sanders (03:51):
Horrible. And I’m sitting up there thinking, even to this day, how can a public high school in Texas look better than a college?
Bill Owens (04:02):
Football facilities where you lived in Texas were better than this?
Deion Sanders (04:04):
School. Forget the darn football facility, the whole darn school. That shouldn’t be right.
Bill Owens (04:09):
Jackson State’s old practice field was so shabby, when it rained the tigers had to bust to a local high school. Coach Prime reached out not to a wealthy booster but to Walmart, which built Jackson State a brand new practice field. Next, he had a new locker room built. The attention Sanders has brought to HBCU football has translated into a revenue spike for his league, the Southwestern Athletic Conference
Dr. Charles McClellan (04:35):
You think I’m going to take a picture with you?
Bill Owens (04:38):
Dr. Charles McClellan is the conference commissioner. Did you expect him to have this kind of an impact on HBCUs when he came to Jackson State?
Dr. Charles McClellan (04:45):
I did not, and I often say this. I’ve been around stars before. This is the first time that I’ve been around a superstar, and I really did not realize the difference.
Bill Owens (04:54):
What do you mean by that?
Dr. Charles McClellan (04:55):
Well, a superstar can enter any room, can enter any board room. Coach Prime is a business person. Coach Prime has opened up doors for the Southwestern Athletic Conference that we could not get into.
Bill Owens (05:10):
Pepsi, American Airlines, Procter & Gamble all are new sponsors of Jackson State or the conference. Call it the Prime Effect. But for all the flash, Sanders is defiantly old school, even by football standards. What other head coach brings his own lawnmower to the practice facility?
Deion Sanders (05:29):
I may tell you once, and you know that grass need to be cut on Thursday. Okay? Now if you don’t cut it, I’m going to go do it.
Bill Owens (05:36):
That’s you in a nutshell right there.
Deion Sanders (05:37):
I can’t … It’s unfathomable to me to understand that you don’t want to do your job and you’re getting compensated for. That’s not the generation I came from.
We don’t have water. Therefore, we don’t have ice, which pretty much …
Bill Owens (05:51):
Also unfathomable to Sanders, how the city of Jackson hasn’t been able to provide clean water consistently or sometimes any water at all. At one point, a documentary team caught him bathing out of necessity in a hotel swimming pool near the stadium.
The water crisis here was a national story. Tell me specifically how that impacted your program these last few months.
Deion Sanders (06:16):
Forget our program. It impacted the whole darn city. I’m not into politics, but I am into people, and I just feel as though our people should be taken care of a lot better.
Bill Owens (06:27):
Just to be clear, in wealthier areas, they did all right with their water. I wonder if there isn’t some parallels between HBCUs and resources.
Deion Sanders (06:36):
Shoot, you know darn well there’s a parallel with HBCUs and resources. Underserved and overlooked.
Bill Owens (06:43):
What do you do about that?
Deion Sanders (06:45):
You’re here. That’s what I do about that.
Bill Owens (06:47):
As if the water crisis weren’t enough, last season Sanders was hospitalized with life threatening blood clots that had formed in his leg.
Did you have any idea at the time how serious this was?
Deion Sanders (06:58):
No, none whatsoever.
Bill Owens (06:59):
Sanders had to endure nine surgeries. Two of his toes were amputated, a chunk of his leg was removed. He spent 23 days in the hospital, and when he returned to his team, he needed help moving around.
Deion Sanders (07:12):
Everything’s going good, man.
Bill Owens (07:13):
Twice a day, his damaged leg is rubbed to get the blood flowing. A towering athlete in American sports, who once started and dashed into the end zone, who played in two Super Bowls and one World Series. We didn’t mention that? Yeah, he played major league baseball too. That man may never run again.
Deion Sanders (07:34):
I had my turn. Now, I’m helping someone else dominate theirs.
Bill Owens (07:39):
Though Sanders now limps noticeably and struggles to stand for an entire practice, his ambition persists
Deion Sanders (07:46):
Full speed by the ball. Do not stop until you hit his whistle. Full speed.
Bill Owens (07:50):
The entrenched college football powers are getting nervous. It’s one thing for Sanders to recruit his sons, Shilo, a defensive back, and Shedeur, the star quarterback.
Travis Hunter (08:00):
Check me out. Come on, throw me that hat.
Bill Owens (08:01):
But heads really swiveled last winter when Travis Hunter, considered the top rank recruit in the country, switched his commitment to Jackson State from Florida State, where ironically Sanders starred in the 1980s.
What changed your mind?
Travis Hunter (08:16):
Coach Prime. He just let me know how big of an impact I can have on the people, and that’s one of the things I wanted to do. I wanted to shine a light on our people and shine a light on HBCUs.
Bill Owens (08:24):
Our people, you mean …
Travis Hunter (08:25):
Yeah, African Americans.
Deion Sanders (08:26):
What he was going to do was normal. That’s been done. Big time recruit going to big time school, but a big time recruit chooses to go to Jackson State? Oh, that changes the trajectory of so many other kids. Now they’re saying, “Hmm. If it’s good enough for Travis to go there and play, it may be good enough for me,” so that’s a game changing decision that he made for so many
Bill Owens (08:48):
Deion Sanders (08:49):
Bill Owens (08:54):
There is an undercurrent here. If the top recruits, who are predominantly African American, get a taste of the full HBCU football experience in stadiums packed with people who look like them, it could be a powerful pull. Just listen to Shedeur, Dion’s son, immediately after a lopsided home win last month.
Tens of thousands of fans, tailgate, band. What’s it like playing a home game like this?
Shedeur Sanders (09:20):
Oh man, it’s amazing. You see all these people, it’s real lovely, and just playing at home and Jackson, they needed us to pull it through.
Bill Owens (09:30):
HBCUs are starting to think big and dream big.You were a good high school football player. You said you didn’t-
Deion Sanders (09:33):
I was a great high school football player.
Bill Owens (09:33):
You were great high school football player.
Deion Sanders (09:35):
Bill Owens (09:40):
You said you weren’t considering HBCUs?
Deion Sanders (09:43):
They never recruited me. That’s why I never considered HBCUs. HBCUs just start recruiting the four and five star players just recently, because they never thought they could get them. Now, they believe.
Bill Owens (09:55):
But can HBCUs compete with schools where players’ lockers are designed like first class airplane cabins and rehab facilities feature underwater treadmills?
Kid gets hurt here, there’s no hydrotherapy pool.
Deion Sanders (10:08):
No. You better get in the pool with a fan in there. That’s about it.
Bill Owens (10:13):
That’s how you do hydrotherapy here?
Deion Sanders (10:15):
That’s about it. They put a little fan in there with a little battery, hope you don’t get electrocuted.
Bill Owens (10:20):
GSU’s entire football budget is only $4 million
Ohio State, Alabama, 15 times that.
Deion Sanders (10:29):
Yeah, and we came down to the final two, US and Alabama, for this big lineman that we almost had a few days ago.
Bill Owens (10:36):
How’s that make you feel?
Deion Sanders (10:37):
It makes me feel good, because we were right there neck to neck with Alabama, and we broke. So what if? So you what if? And I’m hoping a political figure of someone, some billionaire out there saying, “You know what? I’m going to bet on Prime, man. Let me go help that program, because I just want to see what it would be like if he had the resources these other schools would have.”
Bill Owens (11:02):
The cinematic version of the story has Coach Prime sticking it out at Jackson State as the program grows on par with those of the Power Five. The reality? It may not be long before he takes his gold whistle to a school that doesn’t need to beg for resources.
What happens when a Power Five school says, “Give us a number. We’ll make it work.”
Deion Sanders (11:24):
I’m going to have to entertain it.
Bill Owens (11:25):
Deion Sanders (11:26):
Yes, I’m going to have to entertain it. Straight up. I would be a fool not to.
Bill Owens (11:32):
Sanders says he needs to look after his assistants, who are wildly underpaid by college football standards.
Deion Sanders (11:38):
What’s up, babe?
Bill Owens (11:40):
Sanders has ruled out one bigger league.
You don’t want to coach in the NFL?
Deion Sanders (11:44):
Not one bit.
Bill Owens (11:45):
Deion Sanders (11:47):
It’s hard for me to coach a person that makes a lot of money that does not truly love the game that blessed me, and I don’t want to go to jail.
Bill Owens (12:00):
What are you going to jail for?
Deion Sanders (12:01):
Because I’m going to jump on somebody. I will come out of halftime with half the team.
Bill Owens (12:06):
It’s that offense to you?
Deion Sanders (12:07):
We’ll go go in, and half the team will come back out of halftime.
Bill Owens (12:11):
If you had a bunch of guys dogging it, it’s that offensive.
Deion Sanders (12:14):
I couldn’t do it. I just challenged a walk on. I said, “Dude, you’re a walk on. You supposed to be trying to get my attention, and you chilling.” I said, “You’re going to be a walk off if you do that one more time. Not a walk on, you going to be a walk off.”
Bill Owens (12:27):
What’s the significance of winning to Deion Sanders? Let’s just say Vince Lombardi never put it quite like this.
Deion Sanders (12:34):
I got to win in every facet of life. That’s what winning is, and we … That’s our natural odor. We don’t even use cologne. Baby, we will win. We smell like winning around here. When you saw us on the practice field, you walked, and when we first met you, you could feel that you shook the hand of a winner. You felt that. I know darn well you had to call somebody and say, “Hey, man, I just met Coach Prime, baby. Something about him, something. He’s magnetic.” I’m going to win, but not only win, I’m going to dominate. That’s what I do. That’s who I am.