ETSU head football coach Randy Sanders has been suspended with pay, according to an official university release.
“The head coach of the ETSU football team [Randy Sanders] has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation of potential violation of university policy,” said Joe Smith, Executive Assistant to the President of University Relations/Chief Communications.
When asked for further details regarding the development, Smith said he was not at liberty to speak about anything beyond the information provided in the statement.
Associate Athletic Director for Communications Michael White responded similarly when asked for further details, saying, “We can’t talk about the situation beyond what’s on the statement. That’s just normal policy.”
When asked when more information may become available, White said, “We have to let the process take place at its own pace. There’s no way of putting a timeline on it right now.”
White also emphasized that the situation with Sanders has nothing to do with the recent departure of Bucs offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield. Multiple media outlets reported that Satterfield is leaving the Bucs football program for a position with the Baylor football team.
The Johnson City Press reported that unnamed sources close to the program say that Sanders was placed on administrative leave due to a physical altercation with one of his players. The Press reported that Sanders allegedly hit the helmet of freshman defensive back Tyree Robison after the player did not kneel for one of the drills during Friday’s practice.
Randy Sanders is the 18th head coach in the history of the Bucs football program. He has held the position since Dec. 17, 2017. He was hired to replace Carl Torbush, who retired.
A native of Morristown, Tennessee, Sanders has been involved in the highest divisions of college football for nearly three decades. Prior to coming to ETSU, he spent five years working as Florida State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Sanders, who played at the University of Tennessee from 1984-88, began his coaching career at UT in 1989, and during the 17 years at his alma mater, the Vols compiled a record of 162-46-2. During his time at UT, the team won four SEC championships and six Eastern Division crowns in addition to its national title. The Vols played in bowl games his first 16 seasons, including four Citrus Bowls, three Fiesta Bowls, three Cotton Bowls, two Peach Bowls, and one each in the Sugar, Orange, Hall of Fame and Gator bowls.
The Bucs will have to make do without their head coach or offensive coordinator during their Ballad Health Blue-Gold Spring Game, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday.