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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) — East Tennessee State hired Florida State assistant Randy Sanders as football coach Sunday.
Sanders replaces Carl Torbush, who announced his retirement Dec. 8 . Torbush had been ETSU's coach since 2015, when the school relaunched the football program it had shut down for financial reasons in 2003.
This job represents a homecoming for Sanders, a former Tennessee player and assistant coach. Sanders was born in Morristown, about an hour's drive from ETSU's campus.
"It's very nice, but I can also tell you if this job was 1,000 miles from where I grew up, I'd still want to be here," Sanders said at a Sunday news conference. "I have that kind of excitement about it. I have that kind of passion."
Sanders was Florida State's quarterbacks coach in 2013 when the Seminoles won the national title and quarterback Jameis Winston received the Heisman Trophy. Sanders remained at Florida State through this season and most recently worked as co-offensive coordinator.
He spent 22 seasons at Tennessee (1984-2005) as a player and assistant coach. Sanders was offensive coordinator at Tennessee and Kentucky before coming to Florida State.
Sanders played at Tennessee from 1984-88 before beginning his coaching career at his alma mater in 1989. Tennessee posted a combined 162-46-2 record Sanders' 17 years as an assistant coach with the Volunteers.
Sanders was an assistant coach on Tennessee's 1998 national championship team.
"This man's a winner," ETSU athletic director Scott Carter said.
ETSU went 11-22 in three seasons under Torbush, including a 4-7 mark this year. Sanders credited Torbush for laying "a great foundation for ETSU football."
"I'm looking forward to building on that foundation," Sanders said.