Boostin’ the Bulldogs

Ferris’ fresh faces in athletics have instilled work ethic and confidence

It had to be difficult to replace over 40 years of coaching experience at Ferris, though in the pursuit of a perfect athletic program Ferris athletic director Perk Weseinburger may have tapped a resource pool which is spewing “new” ideas that aren’t so new, really — just different.

The same thing year in and year out is uninspiring when there are goals and expectations that fail to be achieved because of unfocused effort, importance of student-athletes’ schedules and the difficulty in keeping up with those schedules during a tough training regimen and, to put it plainly, life. Ferris sports needed serious rejuvenation.

I commend the newly hired coaching staff for football. Tony Annese, his hired-in staff and the staff here before Annese that stuck around have maintained an emphasis on high energy football, which also focuses on developing character–not just football players.

There is a lot more to becoming a tremendous athlete or collective team and Annese is aware of this. He has helped remind the Bulldogs’ football squad that they are capable so long as they remain patient and focus on the field.

It is refreshing to see that Annese has a mostly young team underneath him, all willing to learn thanks to open minds. A new coach and young new faces should help remove the stale, crusty feeling that was associated with Ferris football after Saturdays in the past. As the Bulldogs continue to learn, develop and grow as a team they can only get better under Annese’s systems.

Annese’s emotional stance on football is infectious. The emergence of the new era in the Bulldog’s home opener brought out a capacity crowd –the Bulldogs’ next challenge is to keep fans engaged in the game.

There’s nothing better to hear than a student-athlete being excited about the opportunity to be coached by someone. This was the case for the men’s and women’s tennis program. When tennis athletes heard Coach Chad Berryhill would be coaching them, they were jubilant.

Since Berryhill has arrived both tennis teams have trained regularly every week. Berryhill is encouraging his athletes to push themselves during conditioning so the Bulldogs’ legs remain fresh during long matches. This has kept the Bulldogs’ focus on reaching the round of 16 clear and imaginable, because wins are coming with ease due to their increased strength.

It may seem peculiar to hear an athlete get excited about practice or training, yet Ferris’ primary emphasis has been to get athletics back in shape.

This isn’t just the beginning of another season for Ferris athletics; it has become the dawn of a new age. After a complete makeover of several sports programs, the Bulldogs can become a dictator of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. n