BOULDER, Colo. — Part politician, part preacher and part pitchman, Deion Sanders fired up a crowd of alumni, boosters, former players and other VIPs celebrating his hire as Colorado’s coach on Sunday.
He spewed motivational sayings that he promised will soon adorn the walls inside the complex at Folsom Field and he vowed to lead the bedraggled Buffaloes back to prominence after going 27-5 in three seasons at Jackson State.
“I have the best coaching staff assembled, some of the best scouts, some of the best kids that we’re recruiting, some already coming on the way as I speak,” Sanders told the crowd of hundreds who whooped and hollered at his answers from among the dozens of reporters at his introductory news conference. “And now that I’ve gotten here, I see it, and understand it, and I can grasp it and I can touch it, I can feel it, I can taste it,” Sanders added. “I truly understand what you want — all you want is the opportunity to win. To compete. To dominate. To be amongst the elite. To be amongst the best.
"And darn it, I’m gonna give you that.”
But first, he reminded everyone, “I have work to finish in Jackson, Mississippi.”
Sanders said he will coach the unbeaten Tigers in the Celebration Bowl, the championship for historically Black college football programs, on Dec. 17. Then he can turn his attention entirely to resuscitating the Buffaloes.
“Simultaneously, like I played baseball and football, I can multitask and I can focus,” assured Sanders, the former NFL and major league superstar and the only athlete ever to play in both the Super Bowl and the World Series. “This is my job and my occupation and my business and my dream to bring you back to where you know you should belong,” Sanders said.
A person with knowledge of Sanders' contract told The Associated Press that it's worth $29.5 million plus incentives over five years beginning at $5.5 million in the first year. Yearly incentives include $150,000 for six wins and $100,000 for each win after six, $150,000 for a bowl berth and $200,000 for a New Year's Six bowl invitation.
If he wins a national title like CU did under coach Bill McCartney following the 1990 season, Sanders would get an extra $750,000.
Sanders is already assembling his staff, scouting the transfer portal and reaching out to five-star high school recruits to help him fix a program that has just one winning full-length season since joining the Pac-12 in 2011.
At one point, Sanders asked his son, Shedeur Sanders, to stand up.
“This is your quarterback,” he told the audience, which replied with one of its biggest cheers.