Deion Sanders, who has never coached in college, reportedly is on Florida State’s list
NFL Network analyst and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has emerged as a candidate for the Florida St. head coaching job, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo. A fascinating situation that could unfold.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 8, 2019
Sanders played football and baseball and ran track at Florida State and then became one of the most high-profile professional athletes of the 1990s, playing both baseball and football (he’s the only person alive to take part in both the World Series and the Super Bowl). Since his retirement from the NFL in 2005 and election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011, he has worked as a broadcaster for CBS Sports and the NFL Network.
But Sanders never has been a college coach, though he has experience one level down. In 2012, he co-founded Prime Prep Academy, a sports-focused grouping of Texas charter high schools, and served as its head football coach until he was fired twice, the first time after a co-worker accused him of assault (he was quickly reinstated) and the second time over a power struggle with the other school founders. The school closed in 2015 amid reports of financial impropriety.
Sanders eventually found another job as offensive coordinator at Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill in suburban Dallas, helping the Tigers win back-to-back Division II state championships in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). He’s found some trouble there, too. Last month, the school announced it would be leaving TAPPS at the end of the school year because it felt its teams had been treated “in a less than fair way” and had “faced some unfair sanctions,” superintendent Mark Hennesy wrote in a letter to parents. In May, TAPPS banned the school’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams from competing in the postseason during the 2019-20 school year, ruling that the school did not receive league permission to compete in out-of-state tournaments last season.
Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill already was on TAPPS probation over eligibility violations committed by the school’s football team during the 2017-18 school year, with the league publicly reprimanding Sanders, according to its website. TAPPS said those football violations contributed to the decision to issue the postseason ban to the basketball teams.
Sanders coached both of his sons at Trinity Christian. Shilo Sanders is now a freshman defensive back at South Carolina. Shedeur Sanders, a junior at Trinity Christian-Cedar Hill this season, is rated as the Class of 2021′s No. 15 pro-style quarterback recruit by 247 Sports and has garnered interest from a number of top college programs, including Florida State. With the younger Sanders running the offense and his father coaching it, the Tigers are 8-1 this season, having outscored opponents 361-90.
After Florida State hired Taggart in December 2017, reports surfaced that Sanders was a candidate to become the Seminoles’ defensive backs coach, though nothing came of it.
Florida State Athletic Director David Coburn has said he wants a new coach in place by the end of the season, if not before, and Sanders certainly would be a candidate who could fit that rushed time frame. And with no college experience, he might come cheap, which is perhaps something of a prerequisite considering that Florida State — a school with an athletic department that ran a $3.6 million deficit last year and is projected to face a similar deficit this year — will owe Taggart somewhere along the lines of $17 million in a buyout.