Deion Sanders’s spiritual secret to recent coaching success starts in metro Atlanta

Deion Sanders, the Atlanta sports icon and college football head coach, has a spiritual connection to the city that goes beyond his physical achievements. He credits his faith and his spiritual counselor, Dr. E. Dewey Smith, for his success in rebuilding programs that were in ruins.

From Jackson State to Colorado

Sanders made history as the head coach at Jackson State University, a historically Black college, where he led the team to a Southwestern Athletic Conference championship in 2022. He also brought his charisma and larger-than-life persona to the University of Colorado, where he took over as the head coach in 2023. He brought his sons and other top recruits to a program that won just one game a season ago.

Deion Sanders’s spiritual secret to recent coaching success starts in metro Atlanta
Deion Sanders’s spiritual secret to recent coaching success starts in metro Atlanta

Sanders said he was following God’s calling to places that seemingly are in ruins to rebuild the city and fortify areas that have been torn down. He said he was inspired by the biblical figure of Nehemiah, who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem after they were destroyed by the Babylonians.

“I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to make history,” Sanders said at his introductory press conference at Colorado. “I’m here to do something that has never been done before. I’m here to bring glory to God and to this university.”

A spiritual counselor from DeKalb County

Sanders’s spiritual secret starts in metro Atlanta, where he has a close relationship with Dr. E. Dewey Smith, the pastor of House of Hope Atlanta in DeKalb County. Smith serves as Sanders’s spiritual counselor and mentor, and often walks side-by-side with him on the sidelines.

Smith said he met Sanders through his former pastor in Texas, who passed away from COVID in 2020. He said Sanders reached out to him for spiritual guidance and support, and they developed a bond based on mutual respect and admiration.

“He wants somebody to sharpen him the way he’s been sharpened athletically with coaches and trainers,” Smith said. “He desires the same thing even more spiritually.”

Smith said Sanders lives his faith out loud, and uses his platform to spread the gospel and inspire others. He said Sanders is not afraid to face criticism or challenges, because he knows who he is and whose he is.

“He’s not just Primetime, he’s God’s time,” Smith said. “He’s not just a legend, he’s a legacy.”

A battle with hereditary blood clots

Sanders recently faced a health scare when he was diagnosed with hereditary blood clots in his legs. He had them removed earlier this summer, and said he was grateful for the prayers and support from his family, friends, and fans.

He said he was not going to let the blood clots stop him from pursuing his passion and purpose. He said he was determined to overcome any obstacle that came his way, with God’s help.

“I’m not going to let anything slow me down or hold me back,” Sanders said. “I’m going to keep on high-stepping for the glory of God.”

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