Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University football head coach Tony Annese, who led the Bulldogs to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game in 2018, landed a veteran coach with more than 30 years of experience to fill an opening on his offensive staff as he announced the appointment of Brian Rock as an assistant coach.
Rock, who most recently served as an offensive analyst at NCAA Division I Oklahoma State under head coach Mike Gundy, filled a void recently created by the departure of Steve Casula, who landed a role on the staff at the University of Michigan. Overall, Rock had spent the past 27 years coaching on the Division 1 level.
"We're excited to land someone of Coach Rock's caliber and background to serve on our staff," said Annese. "He brings a ton of knowledge and experience to our program and will be a tremendous addition as we aim to continue our championship success. The success we've had and notoriety received across the country played a big role in helping us attract Brian and we're looking forward to having him help lead our student-athletes."
Prior to this past year at Oklahoma State, Rock worked on the staff at Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member College of the Holy Cross from 2015-17 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was tabbed as the American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) National FCS Assistant Coach of the Year in 2017 and served the final four games of that campaign as the squad's interim head coach, helping lead the team to a pair of victories.
During the 2015 campaign, Rock’s offense led the Patriot League with an average of 295.7 passing yards per game. Wide receiver Brendan Flaherty, wide receiver Kalif Raymond and quarterback Peter Pujals earned All-Patriot League honors, with Flaherty also being selected as an All-American.
Prior to Holy Cross, from 2011-2014, Rock served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kent State University. In 2012, the Golden Flashes posted an overall record of 11-3 while advancing to the Mid-American Conference championship game and the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Rock’s offense ranked second in the MAC in rushing in 2012 (225.8 yards per game), while standing third in scoring (33.1 points per game). Five Kent State offensive players earned All-MAC honors during Rock’s time as offensive coordinator, with offensive linemen Brian Winters and Josh Kline going on to play in the National Football League.
Before his time at Kent State, Rock served as the wide receivers coach at Purdue University for five seasons. In 2009, Purdue’s Keith Smith led the Big Ten with 91 catches and 1,110 receiving yards, en route to earning first team All-Conference honors. Dorien Bryant topped the Big Ten in receptions in 2006 and 2007 (87 both seasons) while setting the Purdue career record with 6,219 all-purpose yards, the fourth most in Big Ten history. He was named first team All-Conference in 2006.
Rock was previously on the staff at Western Michigan University, where he was an assistant coach from 1992 to 2005. Rock coached wide receivers from 1997 to 2004, as well as tight ends (1992-1996 and 2000-2004), offensive tackles (1992-1996) and running backs (2005). He served as the team’s offensive coordinator from 2000-2004 and special teams coordinator from 1997-1999 and also in 2005. He helped lead the Broncos to Mid-American Conference West Division championships in 1999 and 2000.
Western Michigan ranked eighth nationally in passing offense in 2003 (308.4 yards per game) and 16th in 2004 (264.8 yards per game). Rock’s offense produced two 1,000-yard receivers for the first time in school history in 2003 in Greg Jennings (1,050) and Kendrick Mosley (1,019). Jennings became the Broncos’ career leader in receptions, receiving touchdowns and all-purpose yards and went on to play with the Green Bay Packers. Rock also developed and coached tight end Tony Scheffler, who played for the Detroit Lions.
Prior to his tenure at Western Michigan, Rock was defensive coordinator at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., from 1987-1991. He also coached the defensive backs and special teams. Rock began his coaching career a graduate assistant at Bowling Green from 1985-1986.
Widely regarded for his enthusiasm and innovation, Rock has authored several articles on football strategy. His piece “Efficiency in the Scoring Zone” appeared in American Football Monthly in 2005. His tenure as a collegiate coach also includes several postseason bowl games, including the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl, 2007 Motor City Bowl and the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Rock is a 1985 graduate of Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s degree in education. He went on to receive a master’s degree in sports management from Kent State in 1986.