JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Forbes magazine has declared Deion Sanders' appointment as the next head coach of Jackson State University “an opportunity for the next generation. For student-athletes at Jackson State. For student-athletes across all historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).”
“We’re employed by Jackson State and the dream and goal is to build Jackson State, but the overall big picture of things is to build HBCUs in general,” Sanders told Forbes.
“If we get a five- or four-star kid in another HBCU, I think we won; not ‘we’ as in Jackson State but we won in general because now we’re leveling the playing field,” Sanders continued.
This is a sentiment he also shared on Good Morning America when he was asked why it was important to coach at an historically Black college, stating, if given the resources, “we’re gonna prove that there is a highway that takes you from Jackson State all the way to the NFL in professionalism.”
Many are also hoping that Sanders' hiring will bring a much needed boost to the Capital City, both in morale and in economic incentives.
“When JSU football is really going well and when you have the fans here that means more dollars, more tourism dollars, more dollars for hotels and restaurants," said JSU Acting President Thomas Hudson. “It is just going to have a positive economic impact and social impact on the city.”
Jackson City Councilman De’Keither Stamps has also floated the idea of investing in a new stadium for the Tigers, asking the city council to allocate $1 million to get the ball rolling.
Jackson City Council President Aaron Banks said that the conversation surround this new stadium “should continue” but that, at the moment, “Veterans Memorial Stadium is home.”
JSU, though, has recently announced a new facility campaign including upgrades to the Lee. E. Williams Athletics & Assembly Center, the JSU Practice Pavilion and an outdoor track.
“I think it’s going to be good for the University. With a person like Deion coming it’s gonna be a lot of publicity. A lot of people are going to come,” said Oleta Stokes, a local business owner. “I really believe he’ll be able to turn the program around.”