Just before midnight on Saturday night at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield, dozens of football fans joined news crews waiting for the arrival of the next era for CU Boulder Buffaloes football.
Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders stepped off his flight from Jackson, Mississippi, mere hours removed from a Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship looking to bring the same glory to the University of Colorado Boulder.
“It just brought tears to my eyes,” Sanders said of his first moments in Colorado. “The welcome, and the hospitality, and the love, and the respect and the appreciation.”
Sanders was named the 28th head coach of the Buffaloes Saturday after weeks of public speculation.
“It’s official,” Chancellor Phil DiStefano said at a standing room-only press conference at the Dal Ward Touchdown Club on Sunday afternoon. “At the University of Colorado Boulder, we’re ready for ‘Prime Time.’”
Sanders was greeted by more than 200 people who packed the Touchdown Club. Guests included U.S. Representative Joe Neguse, University of Colorado system President Todd Saliman, the University of Colorado Board of Regents and Regents-elect, former players, supporters, boosters and media.
After CU Boulder Athletic Director Rick George presented the coach with a No. 21 “Coach Prime” Buffaloes jersey, Sanders took the podium and took a moment before speaking.
“I’m not lost for words. I’m just trying to seize the moment,” Sanders said.
Wearing a black and gold tie, a Ralphie hat and speaking in front of a name tag saying “Coach Prime,” Sanders spoke about his family’s future in Boulder, his high expectations for the team and his excitement for the job ahead. He also expressed gratitude to Buffaloes fans.
“Colorado, you showed up, and you showed out,” he said. “I can’t wait till this thing kicks off.”