Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University, which reached the NCAA Division II National Championship game this past fall while matching an all-time NCAA record with 15 victories, will officially start preparations for its 2019 gridiron campaign as the Bulldogs open spring football drills March 22 in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs will begin their 111th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on making a sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs after reaching the final eight of the NCAA Playoffs each of the past three years, including a national semifinal berth in 2016 and a national title game appearance in 2018.
Head coach Tony Annese, who is a two-time Football Gazette Regional Coach of the Year, and his Bulldog staff will have the NCAA-allotted total of 15 practices, which will include the annual Crimson and Gold Spring Game on Saturday, April 27, at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Opening kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. (ET).
The Bulldogs' first practice of the spring will take place on Friday, March 22, at Top Taggart Field and FSU will generally work out two to three times per week throughout the spring session.
FSU will conduct a varied spring practice schedule that runs over the course of five weeks from March 22 leading up to the spring game. The spring schedule is subject to change depending on the weather and most practices are slated to take place at Top Taggart Field.
Practices times will also vary with sessions both during the morning, afternoon and evening depending on the day of the week and various class schedules.
Along with reaching the national title game, the Bulldogs captured the GLIAC Championship in 2018 and won the Super Region Three title by winning their first four NCAA Playoff games en route to a historic run. The four playoff wins included FSU's first-ever National Semifinal victory at Minnesota State. Recently, SB Nation labeled FSU as Michigan's best football team of 2018 regardless of division.
Over the last five seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 60-8 overall record and claimed three conference championships, posted three unbeaten regular-seasons, captured two regional titles and reached the national quarterfinals three times. Ferris State has also accumulated three Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won 10 postseason games.
The Bulldogs hold the nation's best record over the past five seasons and are one of only four teams in all of college football at any NCAA level to win 11 games each of the last five years along with Alabama, Ohio State and North Dakota State. FSU is also the only D2 team in the country to reach the national quarterfinals for three consecutive years and the Bulldogs' five-straight playoff appearances is the second-longest longest streak in the nation.
FSU's 15 wins this past year were the most in school history and the Bulldogs' 15-straight wins overall also set a new school record. Ferris State's 60 wins in the last five years (2014-18) marks the Bulldogs' best five-year stretch in school history.
In the seven seasons under Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 75-15 overall mark in the last seven years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) since his arrival. Twice he's been tabbed as the Super Region Coach of the Year at Ferris State and this past season was named both the GLIAC Coach of the Year and the Hero Sports National Coach of the Year.
Overall, Annese has won 85% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 300 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
2019 Spring Practice Schedule:
Practice #1 - Friday, March 22, 3-5 p.m.
Practice #2 - Sunday, March 24, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #3 - Wednesday, March 27, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #4 - Friday, March 29, 3-5 p.m.
Practice #5 - Sunday, March 31, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #6 - Wednesday, April 3, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Practice #7 - Friday, April 5, 3-5 p.m.
Practice #8 - Sunday, April 7, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #9 - Wednesday, April 10, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #10 - Friday, April 12, 3-5:30 p.m.
Practice #11 - Sunday, April 14, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Practice #12 - Wednesday, April 17, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #13 - Wednesday, April 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Practice #14 - Friday, April 26, 3-5:30 p.m.
Practice #15 - Saturday, April 27, 12 p.m. (Crimson & Gold Spring Game)
NOTE -- All Eastern (ET) start times and locations are subject to change.