Big Rapids, Mich. — The administration at Ferris State University is remaining tight-lipped about a suspension of the head football coach.
FOX 17 has learned that the suspension occurred following an aggressive motivation session during a half-time locker room rally at the Michigan Tech game on October, 26.
“He`s a good motivator,” said Justin Zimmer, defensive lineman for FSU.
Players like Zimmer and Parker are standing behind their coach as more information surfaces about what happened during that session.
“It was an isolated incident. Never had a past history of anything,” said Zimmer.
Some players told FOX 17 that the coach had gotten physical with players in the defensive locker room.
He also allegedly had thrown a bag or backpack and clipboard in the offensive locker room.
Both players denied that anyone was injured during the incident.
When asked if it was simply a case of motivation, or reversely, one of intimidation that went too far, Parker said, “I don`t know. It was a just, nothing really. It was just him just getting us excited and ready to roll.”
“I think it was just simply a motivational factor that got us to play better the second half. That`s about it really. Nothing wrong,” said Zimmer.
However, the university found enough cause in the locker room incident to suspend Coach Tony Annese for eight days.
We tried to find out why the internal investigation, that began last Tuesday, prompted them to think this was more than just a motivational session, but employees like Assistant Head Coach Rob Zeitman were very tight-lipped.
“I can`t comment on the issues I`m sorry to say. But, you can contact Sandy Gholston through the university and he`ll make those statements.” said Zeitman.
However, that referral to Sandy Gholston was a dead-end.
He told us he couldn’t talk either.
Gholston went on to say that the university’s attorney or general counsel advised him not to go on camera although we’d already set up an interview earlier in the day.
Ferris State issued a brief statement Wednesday, November 6, stating:
“As a result of an incident that occurred in the locker room during halftime of the team’s game against Michigan Technological University in Houghton on Saturday, Oct. 26, Ferris State University football head coach Tony Annese will serve an eight-day suspension effective today and including the team’s road game on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. Upon learning of the incident, University officials conducted an immediate review of the incident. Coach Annese will be reinstated on Thursday, Nov. 14. During the suspension, head coaching duties will be handled by assistant head coach/offensive line coach Rob Zeitman. As this is a personnel matter, the University will not make any additional comments regarding this incident.”
So, the public and taxpayers will have to wait for more answers from the administration on their version of what happened in that locker room.
As for the players, they say they will focus on what’s ahead…beating Northwood this weekend in Midland, even though Annese must sit the game out.
“He`s just going to come back like we never skipped a beat,” said Zimmer.
“It`s business as usual all the time here and we love him no matter what,” said Parker.