Sports & Recreation  December 7, 2023

Deion Sanders accepts Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year award

Amazon Prime previews second season of ‘Coach Prime’

BOULDER — Nearly a year to the day after Deion Sanders was hired as the head coach at the University of Colorado, Coach Prime stood before about 1,000 fans Wednesday at the CU Events Center to accept a trophy for Sports Illustrated’s 2023 Sportsperson of the Year award.

A lot can change in a year. Sanders, with the help of his son and quarterback Shedeur Sanders, quadrupled last year’s win total (one game) and brought a new attitude to a flailing Buffs program, packing Folsom Field with celebrities and national sports media.

“I don’t see black, I don’t see white. I don’t Hispanic, I don’t see Asia. I don’t see rich, I don’t see poor. I don’t see Christian, I don’t see not (Christian). I see Buffs,” said Sanders, clad in a black top, black beanie hat and a gold chain with a gold coach’s whistle medallion, as he spoke to a cheering crowd. “You have been the best set of fans I have ever experienced in my entire life.”

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For much of the season, Boulder was the epicenter of the sports world. It was again on Wednesday when Sanders joined the ranks of Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ash, Michael Jordan and Tom Brady as Sportsperson of the Year.  

“Since his arrival, he has transcended football,” CU athletic director Rick George said. “His impact on our campus and our community is unparalleled. No one in the county has generated as much excitement for a program as Coach Prime has done.”

Sanders is no stranger to Sports Illustrated; the upcoming edition will be Prime’s seventh cover.

“What we want to celebrate is not Deion the coach; we want to celebrate Deion the man,” said SI CEO Ross Levinsohn, whose daughter is a junior at CU, “and that’s why we’re here. We want to celebrate Deion the mentor, Deion the change-agent.”

After the SI award was handed out, CU Buffaloes fans were given a sneak peek at the second season of Amazon Prime’s “Coach Prime” docuseries.

“We’re here because we believe,” Amazon creative executive Karin Hammerberg told the Buffs faithful. “We believe in what you all are doing both on and off the football field here in Colorado.”

Since he landed in Boulder from Jackson State University last year, college football observers have wondered how long Sanders would stick around. Is CU merely a Division 1 jumping off point to greener pastures in the Southeastern Conference? 

In a shoutout to 99-year-old Buffs superfan Peggy Coppom, Sanders seemed to hint that he’ll be back on campus for at least one more year: “We’re going to get Peggy to a bowl game next season.”

BOULDER — Nearly a year to the day after Deion Sanders was hired as the head coach at the University of Colorado, Coach Prime stood before about 1,000 fans Wednesday at the CU Events Center to accept a trophy for Sports Illustrated’s 2023 Sportsperson of the Year award.

A lot can change in a year. Sanders, with the help of his son and quarterback Shedeur Sanders, quadrupled last year’s win total (one game) and brought a new attitude to a flailing Buffs program, packing Folsom Field with celebrities and national sports media.

“I don’t see black, I don’t see white. I don’t…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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