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UPDATE: Sources say Sanders struck ETSU football player

Joe Avento • Updated Apr 2, 2018 at 3:44 PM

East Tennessee State football coach Randy Sanders’ suspension came as a result of him hitting a player during practice, sources close to the situation said Monday.

Sanders has been suspended with pay while ETSU conducts “an investigation of potential violation of university policy.”

The player in question, according to two people close to the program, is Tyree Robinson, a freshman defensive back from Gainesville, Georgia. Sanders allegedly hit Robinson in the helmet during Friday’s practice when the player failed to take a knee during a drill.

Sanders was allowed to coach the team’s second scrimmage on Saturday and seemed generally upbeat about the performance.

Word of his “administrative leave” came Monday morning when the school issued a brief statement, saying “The head coach of the ETSU football team has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of potential violation of university policy.”

Sanders is 3 1/2 months into an incentive-laden contract that has a base salary of $255,000.

ETSU’s published “Progressive Disciplinary Procedures” state that “An employee may be placed on suspension with pay (or administrative leave) pending the completion of a formal disciplinary investigation. Employees suspended with pay are not entitled to a grievance hearing.”

In addition, ETSU is losing its offensive coordinator. Former ETSU player Marcus Satterfield, who joined Sanders’ staff shortly after his hiring, is leaving for a job at Baylor.

Satterfield was previously head coach at Tennessee Tech, where he was fired on Nov. 19. The Greenback native was suspended last spring as Tennessee Tech investigated possible violations of its harassment policy.

The two moves are said to be not related in any way.

The team will have no head coach or offensive coordinator during the spring game, set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Greene Stadium. During the coming week and in the spring game, defensive coordinator Billy Taylor will run the defense while wide receivers coach Mike Rader will run the offense. Daryl Daye, the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator, will handle the special teams.

Sanders joined ETSU from Florida State, where he spent the last five years as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. The Morristown native has been an assistant at college football’s top level for 29 years after having begun his coaching career at Tennessee in 1989.

He replaced the retired Carl Torbush as head coach on Dec. 17. Torbush had run the program the previous three seasons after the program was reinstated after a 12-year absence.

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Randy Sanders’ first spring game as East Tennessee State’s head football coach won’t be his first after all.

Sanders has been suspended with pay, according to a university spokesman.

ETSU’S Joe Smith, executive assistant to the president for university relations/chief communications officer, issued a brief statement on Monday, saying, “The head coach of the ETSU football team has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of potential violation of university policy.”

Sanders is 3 1/2 months into an incentive-laden contract that has a base salary of $255,000.

In addition, ETSU is losing its offensive coordinator. Former ETSU player Marcus Satterfield, who joined Sanders’ staff shortly after his hiring, is leaving for another opportunity. He is rumored to be headed to Baylor.

Satterfield was previously head coach at Tennessee Tech, where he was fired on Nov. 19. The Greenback native was suspended last spring as Tennessee Tech investigated possible violations of its harassment policy.

The two moves are said to be not related in any way.

During the coming week and in Thursday night’s spring game, defensive coordinator Billy Taylor will run the defense while wide receivers coach Mike Rader will run the offense. Daryl Daye, the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator, will handle the special teams.

Sanders joined ETSU from Florida State, where he spent the last five years as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

The Morristown native has been an assistant at college football’s top level for 29 years after having begun his coaching career at Tennessee in 1989.

He replaced the retired Carl Torbush as head coach on Dec. 17. Torbush had run the program the previous three seasons after the program was reinstated after 12-year absence.

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UPDATE: East Tennessee State University head football coach Randy Sanders has been suspended, a university spokesman confirmed this morning an emailed statement.

“The head coach of the ETSU football team has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of potential violation of university policy” wrote Joe Smith, ETSU’s executive assistant to the president for university relations/chief communications officer.

The Buccaneer football team is under new leadership this year, as Sanders took over as head coach after the retirement of Carl Torbush at last season’s end.

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Earlier:

An East Tennessee State University official confirmed that announcement would be made this morning concerning the university’s football program.

The Buccaneer football team is under new leadership this year, as Randy Sanders took over as head coach after the retirement of Carl Torbush at last season’s end.

Keep visiting JohnsonCityPress.com for more details on this developing story.

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