BUFFS

How CU landed Deion Sanders with the help of a former standout Buff

Jan 19, 2023, 1:38 PM
Deion Sanders...
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

How did Deion Sanders end up coaching the Colorado Buffaloes?

It’s a question worth asking given Coach Prime had no real connection to the state, school or staff in Boulder prior to being named the leader. Of course, the two-sport superstar athlete is a legend without needing an introduction, and he’s already done some unprecedented things in Boulder after leading the Jackson State Tigers on a highly successful run.

The Buffaloes, a program stifling for years but with a great history, began courting Sanders moments after firing Karl Dorrell. And the idea came about when Athletic Director Rick George was on the phone with one of Colorado’s most famous two-sport stars; Jeremy Bloom.

According to a Wednesday story in The Athletic which detailed the inner workings of George’s coaching search that landed Sanders, it was Bloom who played a significant role.

A retired pro skier and NFL player, Bloom was a freshman All-American in Boulder and spent two seasons playing for the Buffaloes before the NCAA nixed his time in black and gold. Unlike Sanders, who was playing for the Yankees while still at Florida State, skiers make much of their money from sponsorship. Rather than being paid directly from a team or competition, Bloom was profiting off his name, image and likeness as a skier which made him ineligible to play collegiate football.

Bloom and Prime have a lot in common but they didn’t know one another. So when George asked for Bloom’s help all he could do was reach out to some folks who did know Sanders. According to David Ubben’s story, Bloom asked former Eagles teammate Steve Smith—who worked with Prime at NFL Network—to reach out to Sanders on Bloom’s behalf.

Bloom then called former Bronco Brandon Marshall, star linebacker Shawne Merriman and college standout Myron Rolle, all friends with Sanders to reach out.

“Four guys I knew that Deion really respected. So within an hour, he got four texts and four phone calls.” Bloom said in the story. “I knew if I could help Rick get a meeting, Rick could close it. I thought Rick George is a secret weapon, and I knew that if Deion felt compelled to take that meeting, not just as a courtesy call but a legitimate opportunity, I thought he had a chance.”

Over the following few weeks, George would close it but not without the help of Colorado’s climate. Sanders, from the south and has almost always lived in the south, was apparently worried about the cold and snow. George told him the snow melts quickly and sent Sanders a series of texts showing pictures of Folsom Field getting snow and then it clearing in just a day.

Bloom finally met Sanders for the first time the day he was introduced as Colorado’s head coach.

“He goes, ‘Wait a second — you set up all those calls? You’re the reason I’m here? You’re the guy pulling the puppet strings? I had no idea Colorado had that kinda clout,’” Bloom told The Athletic.

Colorado will begin its new era under Sanders on Sept. 2 in Fort Worth against College Football Playoff championship game runner-ups Texas Christian University. A huge matchup part of a home-and-home where the Buffaloes lost the front end this past season, but that’s not why it’ll be big for Coach Prime. Sanders interviewed at TCU last year before they went with Sonny Dykes as Gary Patterson’s successor. While that worked out for the Horned Frogs, we’ll see if the on-the-field of Prime works out as well as the off-the-field we’ve seen thus far.

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