As far back as 1995 former Ferris State men’s head basketball coach Bill Sall’s fingerprints were all over the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Sall was a top assistant for the Bulldogs, even serving as Interim Head Coach during the 1995-96 campaign at one point. Yet the Athletic Department was not ready to make him top dog in 1998, causing Sall to leave for Hillsdale.
As an assistant at Hillsdale, one of Ferris State’s rivals, he impressed enough to be offered the then vacant head coaching position prior to the 2002-03 Basketball season, where he served for 11 seasons.
The perfect fit had to end eventually. Sall was recently offered a position at yet another GLIAC school in Northern Michigan, where he accepted the job on May 11.
“I think everyone was in shock and disbelief,” redshirt sophomore center Jared Stolicker said. “I mean we have a championship contender team here at Ferris next year and no on really thought he would give that up.”
The Wildcats finished a paltry 5-21, including a 1-11 mark on the road. Northern Michigan dropped both meetings with Ferris State this season.
Yet Northern had leverage to pry Sall from Big Rapids to join them in Marquette. The offer reportedly included paid educations for Sall’s children.
“He made it feel like he was kind of torn,” Stolicker said. “Between a great team and family we have here at Ferris and the better salary and full scholarships for his kids to attend college at NMU.”
Sall was unavailable for comment despite multiple attempts to reach the outgoing coach during the week of his initial interviews with Northern Michigan.
During his tenure with the Bulldogs, Sall led the team to a 171-145 record, that included three National tournament appearances, with two of them ending in the Sweet Sixteen.
Despite the long and seemingly happy marriage, the elephant in the room comes in the form of Sall staying in the GLIAC, where he will see his former team twice. And they wont be quite as pleased to see him this time.
“[We’ll be] a little bitter and sour,” Stolicker said. “I think everyone kind of feels like that. We’re gonna come out with the intent to embarrass him and make him regret leaving.”