BIG RAPIDS, Mich. -- Ferris State coach Tony Annese shook a player and struck two others on the shoulder pads in a locker room outburst that led to an eight-day suspension last month, records show.
The documents, obtained by MLive.com under the Freedom of Information Act, indicate the Big Rapids school launched an investigation after a complaint by a "concerned individual."
Annese told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he was trying to motivate his team during the tirade, which came at halftime of the Oct. 26 game against Michigan Tech, which the Bulldogs came from behind to win 30-27.
But Annese's response to the Ferris State investigation showed a "lack of understanding" regarding the inappropriateness of his behavior, according to a letter from athletic director Perk Weisenburger that summarized the findings to the coach and university administrators.
"You did not express remorse for these actions, but rather tried to justify them," wrote Weisenburger, who warned Annese that any similar outburst would result in him being fired.
"There can be no serious dispute that your actions on October 26, 2013, were inappropriate," the athletic director wrote.
The school redacted the names of the players struck during the incident, but said that one was hit three times and the strikes "were with a fist and were with great force."
"My motives were purely intended to lift my team, get them excited to play a good second half," Annese told the AP. "By no means did I mean to hurt anyone.
"There was no confrontation whatsoever."
Annese, whose team was 8-3 this season, was suspended with pay and forced to miss the Bulldogs' victory at Northwood on Nov. 9.