Colorado’s Deion Sanders Elicits Excitement From Opposition Coaches at Big 12 Media Days

    Deion Sanders wasn't at the podium at Big 12 Media Days on Tuesday, but that didn't stop the Colorado head coach being the talk of the town.

    Deion Sanders wasn’t even at the podium in Allegiant Stadium for the opening of Big 12 Media Days, but that didn’t stop the Colorado Buffaloes coach from being the talk of the town. As he prepares to ride the Buffs back into the conference this fall, the head coaches in attendance exuded excitement as they welcomed the polarizing personality into the new-look Big 12.

    Coaches Swoon Over Deion Sanders at Big 12 Media Days

    Love him or loathe him; you cannot deny him. Sanders has courted controversy with his approach to roster construction and his outspoke nature in the media. Still, he has undeniably returned excitement to a beleaguered Buffaloes program — albeit without results yet. The fervor surrounding him has translated to his new in-conference compatriots at Big 12 Media Days.

    During the opening day of “talking season” in Las Vegas, several coaches who will pit their skills against Sanders and his Colorado crew in the coming years fielded questions relating to their new conference compatriot, with a theme very quickly emerging. He is beloved in Boulder, but the Buffaloes head coach is equally as embraced deep in Big 12 country ahead of the 2024 campaign.

    “Man, I love Deion,” Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire enthused during his press conference at Big 12 Media Days. “I always tell everybody, I coached Bucky, his oldest son, in high school. He’s honestly the best dad of a player that I’ve ever had.”

    “He was absolutely incredible. But what he brings, he’s who he is. He doesn’t make any excuses, and he doesn’t take anything back. He’s going to say what he believes in and say what he thinks.”

    “He brings a lot of excitement that I think Colorado is going to be really good,” McGuire continues. “They’ve added a lot of talent and they do have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. Whenever you’ve got a quarterback like his son that can make plays with his arm and his feet, you’ve got a chance to win games.”

    “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” the Texas Tech head coach concluded. “I am glad that he gets to come to Lubbock first before I have to go to Boulder. I think that’s going to be a big game late in the season, and I’m excited to see him.”

    Meanwhile, Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy, who is no stranger to controversial engagements with the media — including at the opening of the 2024 Big 12 Media Days — was equally effusive in his praise of Sanders.

    “I have a lot of respect for Coach’s career,” Gundy began in direct response to a question about Sanders’ transition to the Big 12 for the 2024 campaign. “I know a lot more about him as a player than I did as a coach because he has not coached for a long period of time at this level.”

    After an outstanding playing career and dalliance with media roles, Sanders began his college coaching career with Jackson State, before making the move to the FBS last fall as the Colorado head coach — his first appointment at the highest level of college football.

    His reputation as a player precedes him, but respect as a coach is quickly following suit among his peers.

    “I think we’re lucky in our league that he’s with us because he brings more people and notoriety and viewers to the Big 12 Conference, and that’s what makes it go,” Gundy continues. “We need viewership. We want people to watch our teams play.”

    “It will be fun to have him in our league. It will be fun — it’s fun for me to have Colorado back in our league and to be able to compete against him. I can only imagine what his competitive level is. So that will be fun to have him in the league.”

    One man who has already experienced the competitiveness and fun that Sanders brings to the college football table is Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham. Another conference newcomer, Utah faced the Buffaloes late last fall. It isn’t just coaches already established within the conference who were excited about Colorado and Sanders on Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days.

    “Coach Sanders has done a great job infusing excitement into that program and talent,” Whittingham said. “His own sons are terrific players. We didn’t see Shedeur, but he’s — obviously, watching the tape, he’s a terrific talent.”

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    “Essentially, he’s put Colorado football back on the map. Year 2, I’m sure they’re looking for progress. They started off very strong last year. Injuries caught up to them and didn’t end the way they wanted, I’m sure. But he’s definitely rejuvenated things in Boulder.”

    Tuesday was an opportunity for the Colorado head coach to bask in the reflective glow of the warmest of welcomes to his new conference. On Wednesday, Sanders takes to the stage as the main attraction at Big 12 Media Days. While there is excitement about his arrival in July, that clamor will give way to competitive zeal when the action starts in earnest on August 29.

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