There’s no question that Deion Sanders is the head of the Colorado football program.
However, he is far from the only leader in the building.
Sanders, hired as CU’s head coach on Dec. 3, quickly assembled his coaching staff and did so with experience and leadership in mind.
“(The players) are in great hands. Not in good hands, they’re in great hands,” Sanders said during an interview with Thee Pregame Show posted to YouTube on Monday.
Sanders’ staff includes several former college head coaches, one former high school head coach, and several with years of experience as coordinators.
“It’s hugely isolating for me,” Sanders told Thee Pregame Show as he surrounded himself with veteran coaches. “Some of the guys who haven’t been head coaches are capable. They ran programs or they were the guy right next to the guy who is very capable of running a program. I am enormously isolated in terms of when, what, and how and why with a navigation system.”
CU’s on-field coaching staff includes four former head coaches among the five on offense.
Offensive coordinator Sean Lewis joined CU after five seasons as the head coach at Kent State. Tight ends coach Tim Brewster (Minnesota), running backs coach Gary Harrell (Howard), and offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle (Chadron State) are also former collegiate head coaches.
Linebackers coach Andre’ Hart was a successful head coach at Trinity Christian (Texas) High School. Vincent Dancy, who has been the head coach at Mississippi Valley State for the past five seasons, is also on the CU staff as an analyst.
In addition to this group, Defense Coordinator Charles Kelly has 14 years experience as a College Coordinator and Quality Control Analyst Dennis Thurman has nine years experience as a Defense Coordinator. Thurman’s experience includes coordinating stints with the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, and the last three years at Jackson State.
“Taggart is coming too, by the way,” Sanders said in the video. “By the way, coach Zim is also coming. Two more head coaches.”
Sanders is referring to Willie Taggart and Mike Zimmer, who are expected to have supporting roles with the Buffs, although their roles have not been announced.
Taggart was fired as Florida Atlantic’s head coach last month. He has been the head coach at five different schools (Western Kentucky, South Florida, Oregon, Florida State and FAU) over the past 13 seasons.
Zimmer worked with Sanders as an analyst at Jackson State last season. Prior to that, he was the head coach of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings for eight seasons (2014-21). From 2000 to 2013 he was the defensive coordinator in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. When Sanders played for the Cowboys from 1995-99, Zimmer was his coaching position.
However, it wasn’t Sanders’ goal to simply round up former head coaches.
“Forget the titles,” he said. “They know this game and they know kids and they’ve been able to make tremendous decisions with the kids and young men in mind. That’s what I admire most.”
Sanders hasn’t just built up an experienced staff since he was hired. He and his staff are also building an impressive recruiting class. The combination of high school recruits and transfers ranks the CU class 20th nationally by 247Sports.com.
With CU coming off a 1-11 season, Sanders reiterated to Thee Pregame Show that he’s not interested in building a winner over time. He wants to win big this year.
“I’ve never settled for anything in my life,” he said. “I have never settled for mediocrity in any area of life. That’s why baseball was so hard for me, knowing that you can fail seven times out of ten and still be a superstar. It bothered me to have failed so much. I’ve never been one to settle down. I’ve never been one to allow complacency primarily for myself and others. But to live in the world of mediocrity. I do not know how that works.
“I’m committed to these young men and this staff and this community and our (sporting director) Rick George. I am committed to this with all my heart. I am in. I can not stop.”