(JACKSON, Miss.) — Mississippi state legislators assembled inside the Senate and House chambers and outside on the Capitol steps Tuesday to salute Jackson State University football, which earned the 2021 SWAC Championship under head Coach Deion “Prime” Sanders.
The SWAC championship football team and coaches were greeted by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann and House Speaker Philip Gunn. In attendance among state legislators, who also are JSU alums, were Sen. Sollie Norwood, Sen. Derrick Simmons, Sen. Hillman Frazier, Rep. Chris Bell, Rep. Bo Brown and Rep. Rufus Straughter.
Presenting resolutions and proclamations, state lawmakers were joined by local leaders such as Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Hinds County Board of Supervisors, including Robert Graham of District 1 and Bobby “Bobcat” McGowan of District 5. The Jackson City Council was also on hand for the special occasion.
During the outdoor celebration emceed by Rob J, assistant athletic director for Broadcasting and Video Services, JSU President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., greeted throngs of beaming fans. He saluted student-athletes, the coaching staff and fans for their sacrifices and support.
“This is a great day to be a JSU Tiger and a Jacksonian,” he said. He also recognized city and county leaders for partnering with the HBCU and predicted even greater success for the football team, “We will run this back one more time.”
Meanwhile, Coach Prime delivered an upbeat message, too, declaring that “we overcame all adversity, and we’re winning.” He gave a nod to dignitaries, his coaching staff and, especially, his student-athletes for their championship form. “I appreciate you. I adore you. The best is yet to come.”
It’s quite a declaration for a coach who already scored an impressive record for his first regular season. In 2021, Coach Prime helped the Tigers roar to an overall performance of 12-2, culminating in an appearance at the 2021 Celebration Bowl in December.
Vice President/Athletic Director Ashley Robinson also reveled in the moment.
“It’s Prime Time in the city of Jackson,” Robinson belted. “There’s no strong Jackson, Mississippi, without Jackson State University. JSU produces hall of famers, and we hire them,” he said. In all of collegiate football, Robinson was referencing the enviable selection of Coach Prime to fulfill the mission of his Department of Athletics: returning JSU football to its glory days.
Not to be remiss, Robinson also gave a shoutout to the “best band in the country,” the Sonic Boom of the South led by Roderick Little, Ph.D., the Prancing J-Settes and cheerleaders for their special appearances.
JSU Government Relations Director Jacqueline Anderson-Woods expressed special gratitude to the Department of Finance and Administration, the Capitol police officers, legislative assistants, and porters for their efforts in ensuring the JSU Tigers had their moment.
“I would also like to thank Lt. Gov. Hosemann, Speaker Gunn and their staffs, along with all the members of the House and Senate for making this day possible,” Anderson-Woods said.