Big Rapids, Mich. - As Ferris State University Athletics gears up for another exciting season, the Bulldogs have unveiled a new theme, encouraging fans to "Rise With Us" while reflecting on recent past success as FSU kicks off the 2017-18 athletics year.
The "Rise With Us" wording and a specially-designed logo will be carried over to a variety of projects and promotional items throughout the year along with being a primary hashtag and wordmark on Twitter and various other social media platforms. The campaign theme will reflect the accomplishments of the Bulldogs' rise over the past five years and the fact FSU's 17 varsity programs keep moving forward.
"Our programs have had unprecedented success in a number of areas and sports over the last five years," said FSU Associate Athletics Director Jon Coles. "A ton of credit goes to the outstanding student-athletes, who have embraced the Division II philosophy of Make It Yours and have achieved athletically, academically and in the community.
"While we've had a number of monumental achievements as a program and a university in the past five years, this campaign also reflects the fact we're continuing to move forward and hoping to build on this success in the years to come," he added.
The "Rise With Us" idea came during a summer coaches and staff meeting as the department reflected on what had been accomplished over the past five years both on and off the playing field.
"The Rise With Us moniker unfolded very organically as we paused for a moment after this past academic year and began to take count of all that had been achieved by our Bulldogs over the past several years," said FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger. "As we did there was a "wow" reaction and a very proud sense of accomplishment in what our student-athletes, coaches and staff had accomplished. At the same time we also realized that we have more that we want to achieve and share with our community, University, families, alumni, donors and fans. Thus, Rise With Us was created and we are excited about what it signifies."
The Bulldogs' recent push began with Ferris State's run to the NCAA Division I Frozen Four in 2012 and has carried over thru this past year, which saw the Bulldogs continue their recent postseason success in a number of sports.
"We don't often get a chance to really stop and celebrate the success we've had," said FSU Football head coach Tony Annese. "Over the past five years, a number of our athletic programs have really built momentum and created memorable championship experiences for both student-athletes and fans. At the same time, we've also been able to fulfill our number one priority which is graduating and developing young people for future success."
With the recent success in mind, the Bulldogs remain focused on continuing to rise as high as they can in all facets.
"This really has been a tremendous era for Ferris State Athletics and we celebrate that success," said FSU Volleyball head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. "However, that certainly doesn't mean we are resting on what we've accomplished. There's still room for growth as we continue to rise."
Along with the championships and individual honors claimed on the field of play by FSU student-athletes, the Bulldogs have also had an impressive number of community and academic accomplishments to celebrate in the past five years.
"The success of our student athletes over the past five years is a wonderful point of pride for our students, alumni and friends of the university," said FSU Associate Vice President for External Relations Jeremy Mishler. "Their achievements, with the leadership and guidance of our exceptional coaches, demonstrate what's possible when you be yourself and stay focused on your goals. As they reach for greater success this year, everyone in the Ferris family stands ready to rise with them, as they are one of the many important reasons why so many want to become or are already proud to Be a Bulldog."
The #RiseWithUs tag will be used on tweets and social media posts related to Bulldog Athletics in addition to the various promotional and marketing initiatives.
"Rise with Us is a symbol to fans, donors, corporate sponsors and ticket buyers to jump on board and help us rise to even greater heights as the Bulldog Nation," said Coles. "We're looking forward to branding the "Rise With Us" tag as we begin what we hope is another strong and successful athletics season, building on what we've accomplished in recent history," he added.
Below are just some of Ferris State's major accomplishments over the past five years:
2012 NCAA Frozen Four & National Championship Game
2016 NCAA Football National Semifinals
2016 NCAA Men's Tennis Final Four
2016 NCAA Hockey Final Eight
2015 & 2016 NCAA Men's Tennis Elite Eight
2017 NCAA Men's Golf National Quarterfinalist
2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Sweet Sixteen
2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Semifinalist
2017 WCHA Student-Athlete of the Year
2015, 2016 & 2017 GLIAC Men's Basketball Tournament Champions
2015, 2016 & 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball National Qualifier
2014 & 2015 GLIAC Football Champions
2014, 2015 & 2016 NCAA Football National Qualifier
2017 GLIAC Men's Basketball Regular-Season Champions
2017 GLIAC Men's Golf Runner-Up
2017 NCAA Track & Field Championship Qualifiers
2016 NCAA Track & Field Championship Qualifiers
2016 NCAA Super Region Football Champions
2016 WCHA Final Five Champions
2015 & 2016 NCAA Volleyball Sweet Sixteen
2014, 2015 & 2016 GLIAC Volleyball Champions
2014, 2015 & 2016 GLIAC Volleyball Tournament Champions
2015, 2016 & 2017 GLIAC Men's Tennis Champions
2016 & 2017 GLIAC Men's Tennis Tournament Champions
2014 & 2015 Harlon Hill Trophy Winner
2015 & 2016 Nation's Top Division II Scholar-Athlete
2016 NCAA Today's Top 10 Award Recipient
2015 NCAA Football's Greatest Rushing Quarterback of All-Time
2015 GLIAC Women's Soccer Regular-Season Runner-Up
2015 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete
2015 NCAA Men's Tennis Regional Semifinalist
2015 Women's Soccer Record for Most Wins & Shutouts
2014 NCAA Hockey Final Eight
2014 NCAA Volleyball Regional Semifinalist
2014 WCHA MacNaughton Cup Regular-Season Champions
2013 NCAA Volleyball Elite Eight
2013 NCAA Softball Tournament Qualifier
2013 NCAA Men's Cross Country National Championship Qualifier
2013 NCAA Women's Cross Country National Championship Qualifier
2012 GLIAC North Women's Basketball Champions
2012 GLIAC Men's Tennis Tournament Champions
2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Regional Semifinalist
2012 NCAA Hockey National Runner-Up
2012 CCHA Hockey Regular-Season Champions
2012 NCAA Men's Cross Country National Championship Qualifier
2012 NCAA Women's Cross Country National Championship Qualifier
2017 Salvation Army Red Shield Community Partner Award
2013 Michigan's "Best Sports Logo" Contest Winner
Created all-sport apparel partnership with Under Armour
Honored As One Of Nation's Top Hockey & College Hockey Cities
More Than A $12 million economic impact yearly in local area in 2015-16
1000+ Academic All-Conference Honorees (last five years)
Three Consecutive Years of cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher
Most wins & highest win % of Michigan NCAA Schools in football, basketball, volleyball last three years
More than 5,000 hours of giving back via community service projects/events
Ranked among NCAA Division II's top leaders in social media following
Set department records for sales revenue, corporate sponsorships and royalties