When Deion Sanders made waves by leaving the Historically Black Jackson State University to coach at the University of Colorado Boulder, he told his new players he was bringing his luggage with him.
In addition to some of Mississippi’s best HBCU players, Sanders is making good on that promise by building his coaching staff with some of the state’s HBCU talent.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, news broke that Mississippi Valley State University Head Coach Vincent Dancy resigned Dancy to join Sanders at Colorado.
Dancy led the HBCU’s football program as head coach for five years. He was a defensive coordinator at MVSU for two years before that, spending a total of seven years with the program.
A JSU alum and former football player, Dancy spoke with Delta Sports about his decision to leave Mississippi Valley.
“We developed a relationship that’s just pure genuine. He accepted me and I accepted him. He took me under his wing just to teach me and help me grow in my profession [and] meet people that I probably would have never met before,” Dancy told Delta Sports about his and Sanders’ bond.
“He’s a man of his word. Everything that he told me he was gon’ do for me, he’s done it. He blessed me with a great opportunity,” Dancy continued. “I feel like this is the opportunity that I’ve always wanted … to enhance my career at this moment. It’s time for me to spread my wings and fly out of Mississippi for the first time in my life and really and go be successful somewhere else.”
While at MVSU, fans said Dancy did all he could with limited resources. One Twitter user said despite the optics, Sanders’ overall 10-38 record in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) conference was impressive considering what he had to work with.
“Coach Dancy has done all he could at Valley. No support or funding. His record doesn’t reflect what he has done for those young men and the football program. I speak as a parent of one of those young men,” a Twitter user identified as Eric King wrote.
Sanders echoed King’s sentiment about Dancy in a previous interview.
“First of all, Coach Dancy’s doing a phenomenal job. A dear friend of mine and what he’s doing with that program, I know the record does not indicate it, but let me tell you something, that man is coaching his butt off,” Sanders said.
“This is what everyone misses. We focus on the players so much we forget about the coaches. It’s coaches in the SWAC that can coach their butt off,” Sanders continued. “I want to ask them what is up, do you not want to go to the next level? … Because I think some of these coaches are phenomenal.”
MSVU President Jerryl Briggs thanked Dancy for his service to the school and wished him well.
“We are thankful to Coach Dancy for his service to MVSU,” Briggs said in a statement. “He has served Valley in various capacities, a coach, a leader of young men, and a mentor to countless individuals throughout his time. He will always be a part of the Valley family and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
MSVU athletic director Hakim McClellan also praised Dancy’s leadership and service.
“On behalf of Mississippi Valley State University, I want to extend our deepest appreciation to coach Vincent Dancy for his incredible leadership of our football program,” McClellan said.
“The energy that he poured into his teams was a shining light for MVSU and a point of pride for all the Valley family,” McClellan continued. “More importantly, while coach Dancy prepared his student-athletes for success on the field, he also ensured they were successful beyond football as proud graduates of Valley State.”
After news of Dancy’s hiring, one Twitter user said he understood what Sanders was trying to accomplish at Colorado.
“Okay, Deion I see what you’re doing I hope it doesn’t backfire,” @geb_black wrote, adding, “this looks like a well thought out plan to get some of these black coaches noticed honestly, I was thinking if he takes black coaches out of this Conference and take them with him, that’s a smart plan.”
Another Twitter user expresses similar thoughts.
“Word on the street is Prime is taking Mississippi Valley Head Coach Vincent Dancy to Colorado with him. Dancy is a former JSU player and was a potential Deion replacement,” @dottoreserpente tweeted. “Honestly that’s a dope move and I’m happy for him. That’s an opportunity many SWAC coaches never see.”