1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State coaching search: NFL insiders name Deion Sanders as a candidate

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported the development Thursday night.
Former Florida State football player Deion Sanders, left, joins Head Coach Willie Taggart prior to the start of the spring game action Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee in 2018. [COLIN HACKLEY  |  COLIN HACKLEY]
Former Florida State football player Deion Sanders, left, joins Head Coach Willie Taggart prior to the start of the spring game action Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee in 2018. [COLIN HACKLEY | COLIN HACKLEY]
Published Nov. 8, 2019
Updated Nov. 8, 2019

Is it about to be Prime Time at Florida State University?

According to NFL insiders, Deion “Prime Time” Sanders, one of FSU’s (and the NFL’s, for that matter) all-time greatest players, is in the running to replace ousted Seminoles coach Willie Taggart and lead FSU’s football program. Ian Rapoport, a national insider for the NFL Network, broke the news in a tweet late Thursday.

RELATED STORY: Florida State football fires Willie Taggart

“NFL Network analyst and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders has emerged as a candidate for the Florida St. head coaching job, sources tell me and @MikeGarafolo,” Rapoport tweeted. “A fascinating situation that could unfold.”

The move would be both surprising and not. Sanders has no significant coaching experience. He’s neither coached for an NFL team nor a college program. He is, however, widely considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. His storied career has earned him spots in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, where the cornerback was one of FSU’s most celebrated players and a two-time All-American.

Sanders, a Fort Myers native, spent 14 seasons in the NFL, winning Super Bowls with both the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. He also made eight Pro Bowl appearances. Outside of football, he played nine seasons in professional baseball, including one World Series appearance with the Atlanta Braves in 1992. He’s the only player in professional sports history to have played in both the Super Bowl and World Series.

Outside of professional sports, Sanders was a founder and coach at Prime Prep, a Texas charter school that abruptly closed after only a few years in operation because of financial issues and some questionable practices. Most recently he’s been an analyst for the NFL Network.

And while Twitter has been trending with news of the possible move, it doesn’t seem likely at this juncture.

Tampa Bay Times college football reporter Matt Baker said the news seems skeptical at best, while some Twitter users asked Rapoport if his account had been hacked.

Still, many users responding to the news seem hopeful. Some said they should sign him to a 10-year deal and go for it, thinking he deserves a shot after years of coaching high school-aged children. Some even predict success. Even Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew threw in for Sanders.

@DeionSanders Head Coach at @FSUFootball he will win a National Championship in two years,” Campbell wrote. “Only Nick Saban can compete with him in recruit. I’m pulling for you Brother.”


  1. Florida State guard M.J. Walker tries to block the shot of Miami guard Dejan Vasiljevic during the second half of their game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Coral Gables. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    FSU forces 24 turnovers and storms back from a nine-point deficit for its ninth consecutive victory.
  2. Florida State forward Malik Osborne dances with his teammates during player introductions before their game against Virginia on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    Florida State, in a three-way tie atop the ACC standings, goes on the road Saturday in search of its ninth straight victory.
  3. Miami LB Shaquille Quarterman (55) during drills for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    “They don’t yet have the mentality of a Miami Hurricane,” the linebacker says during the days leading up to the East-West Shrine Game.
  4. Former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops was considered the front-runner for the Florida State job after Willie Taggart was fired. Instead, Stoops stayed with the XFL. [TONY GUTIERREZ  |  AP]
    “The’s amazing," Seminoles AD David Coburn said of fan reactions. We read the emails. They are amazing.
  5. Florida State guard Anthony Polite and Virginia guard Braxton Key react to Polite's 3-point shot during the second half of their game Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, in Tallahassee. [MARK WALLHEISER  |  AP]
    FSU forces 18 turnovers in a stellar defensive effort to take down the defending national champion.
  6. Memphis linebacker Bryce Huff gets fired up after a play during a game against SMU at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. [KYLE OKITA  |]
    Plus more East-West Shrine Game nuggets, including former Navy star quarterback Malcolm Perry practicing at receiver
  7. Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) gets emotional after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against Miami in the season opener. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Times]
    The Florida Gators finished about where I thought. But about Willie Taggart’s job security ...
  8. LSU coach Ed Orgeron, left, and Clemson coach Dabo Swinney shake hands on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, near the national championship trophy after a news conference for the College Football Playoff title game. [CHRIS CARLSON  |  AP]
    Goodbye, task-master ways. The duo leading their teams into the CFP national title game are all about a very personal, aw-shucks, family approach.
  9. This Dec. 30, 2019, file photo shows more empty seats than fans before the start of the First Responder Bowl between Western Michigan and Western Kentucky in Dallas. [ROGER STEINMAN  |  AP]
    Despite six bowl games this season having their smallest crowds ever, bowl games will increase next season from 39 to 42. And forget about attendance being a factor.
  10. Florida State tight end Tre' McKitty (6) gets stopped by Miami defensive back Jaquan Johnson (4) and defensive lineman Joe Jackson (99) during a 2018 game. [Times]
    The former three-star recruit started 19 games over the last two seasons for the Seminoles.