Heads held high

Coach Annese reaches out to football team in emotional response to season postponement

For a championship aspiring team like the Bulldogs, the cancellation of a season is a devastating blow.

Ferris football was supposed to take the practice field for the first time this year on Monday, August 10. However, with the NCAA’s decision to postpone Division II fall sports, it is unknown when the Bulldogs will get back on the field.

Upon learning of the season’s postponement, Ferris football head coach Tony Annese wrote a heartfelt letter to his players. In his letter, Annese stressed that it is more important than ever that the team stick by each other’s sides.

“What I need from you guys is to make sure you show love and support toward your teammates,” Annese advised his players in his letter. “Check on your teammates and make sure they are ok.”

In a COVID-19 infested world, times are tough for everyone. Less social interaction can cause mental health issues. The postponement of football could increase feelings of frustration and sadness his players are already feeling. Annese recognized this and immediately worried about his players. He also acknowledged his own pain.

“I catch myself sometimes in that self-pity mindset and it is not a healthy emotional state,” Annese said in his letter. “When I catch myself, I try to reframe my thoughts, but it is not always that simple to do.”

Understanding that his players may be upset, Annese stressed that they reach out to someone if they need to talk. He emphasized the need for the Bulldogs to lean on one another and unite during what he described as the “most challenging times” he has faced in his career.

Annese also explained the importance of continuing to live by the Bulldog’s core values of Faith, Order, Love, and Discipline. He emphasized that now is not the time to make poor decisions or lose focus on goals and commitment. Most importantly, the team needs Love.

“Trust me, we need to feel love from one another more than ever,” Annese said in his letter. “I feel a tremendous amount of love from my assistant coaches and players and it gives me the confidence that we can make it through this challenging time!”

Annese closed the letter to his players with optimism that the Bulldogs will be back on the field again very soon, playing the game they love and fighting to achieve their goals.

Annese reminded his players that when they do take the field again, they will be playing for their seventh straight playoff season, third straight undefeated season, and 29th consecutive regular season win.

The Bulldogs have a lot to play for when football can resume. Annese built Ferris into one of the most successful Division II football programs in the nation and expectations are high once again for the Bulldogs.

When the Bulldogs take the field again, they look to bring a national championship back to Big Rapids after losing the championship game in 2018 and falling one round short of the finals in 2019.