Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University football head coach Tony Annese has finalized his coaching staff for the 2014 campaign with the appointment of longtime collegiate coach Tesfa Smith as an assistant coach.
Smith, who most recently spent the last seven consecutive seasons as an assistant coach at fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member Saginaw Valley State, will serve as the program's defensive line coach.
The addition of Smith helps fill a void created earlier this summer by the departure of former defensive coordinator Lou Esposito, who was named the first-ever head coach at Davenport University. This season, defensive backs coach Ryan Hodges will handle the defensive coordinator duties with former offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Brady moving to the defensive side to lead the linebackers.
"I'm thrilled to have Tesfa join our staff," said Annese. "He brings a wealth of experience and energy to our program. We're excited about his addition and the fact we were able to land such a high-quality coach at this time of the year."
Overall, Smith spent nearly 14 years on the Saginaw Valley State coaching staff, helping the Cardinals to unprecedented success under different head coaches. He began his SVSU coaching career during his initial stint from 1999 to 2004. During that period, he coached the linebackers, running backs and tight ends, helping the Cardinals to GLIAC Championship in 2003.
After a stint as the defensive coordinator at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., Smith returned to Saginaw Valley State in 2007. He guided the running backs upon first returning to SVSU before moving to the defensive side of the ball to lead the linebackers the last three years under head coach Jim Collins.
In his tenure handling the linebackers at SVSU, Smith developed one of the top linebacking units in the nation. His 2012 unit was led by All-GLIAC honoree Grant Caserta, who was also tabbed as a Capital One Academic All-American. While at SVSU, he helped the Cardinals to six NCAA Division II Playoff appearances.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Smith was a four-year starter at linebacker for Lakeland College. He was a two-time all-conference performer and chosen as the conference defensive player of the year in each of his final two campaigns.
Smith received his bachelor's degree from Lakeland in marketing and international business with a minor in Spanish. He later earned a master's degree from SVSU in 2001 with an emphasis in business administration.
Smith and his wife, Brooke, have twin daughters, Adalie and Amari.
The Bulldogs will begin their 106th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on competing for a potential GLIAC Championship and a NCAA Division II Playoff berth after posting only the program's second eight-win season in the last 16 years during the 2013 campaign. FSU opens the 2014 campaign with a non-league contest at McKendree (Ill.) on Thursday, Sept. 4, before visiting Northwood for their GLIAC opener on Sept. 13 in Midland.
FSU's 2014 home opener at Top Taggart Field will be on Sept. 20 as the Bulldogs entertain archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic with kickoff set for 7 p.m. (ET).