Sanders, 52, returns to the state of Tennessee, where he spent 22 seasons from 1984 to 2005 as a player and coach at the University of Tennessee, the last seven of them as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Vols. Sanders also spent time as the offensive coordinator at Kentucky.
"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.''
Among the quarterbacks Sanders has coached are Jameis Winston, Andre' Woodson, Randall Cobb and Tee Martin. Sanders was part of national championship staffs at Tennessee in 1998 and FSU in 2013.
Sanders replaces Carl Torbush, who retired following the 2017 season. East Tennessee State resurrected its football program in 2015 after disbanding the program following the 2003 season.