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East Tennessee State coach keeps job after suspension, investigation

East Tennessee State coach Randy Sanders previously coached at Florida State. 

East Tennessee State coach Randy Sanders is still the team’s head coach following an investigation into an allegation that he slapped a player in the helmet after the player made a poor play in practice.

The incident happened March 30 and according to WJHL, Sanders self-reported the incident to school administrators. The school then suspended him while it conducted an investigation.

Sanders allegedly slapped freshman defensive back Tyree Robinson in the head after Robinson intercepted a pass in an end-of-game drill. Robinson returned the pass instead of taking a knee to seal the hypothetical game and Sanders then reacted in disgust.

The coach then apologized to his team and to Robinson and reported the incident to officials. ETSU said Sanders will be given an official letter of reprimand and will be docked a week’s pay.

“Last week, I responded to a situation with poor judgment towards the end of practice,” Sanders said in a Friday afternoon statement. “I immediately apologized to the player directly involved and to my team, and contacted my athletic director to explain everything that happened. Since that time, I have cooperated freely and fully with the university and its review of the situation. I accept the decision by the university and recognized that through my role I have an obligation to lead by example. As I said back in December, I am truly grateful to be your coach and I am thankful for the opportunity given to me by our President Dr. Noland and Athletic Director Scott Carter. I look forward to returning to the sideline. Go Bucs!”

Sanders was hired by East Tennessee State in December. He came to the school from Florida State, where he was the quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator for Jimbo Fisher.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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