Jeff Pierce will begin his 17th year serving as head coach at Ferris State for the 2011 season and owns the distinction of being the Bulldogs' all-time winningest coach with a 96-80 overall record.
Pierce, who attained the historic milestone in Ferris' overtime conference victory at Ashland on Sept. 4, 2004, also boasts the program's third-highest ever winning percentage (.545) in the Bulldogs' gridiron history.
Pierce was named to his present FSU head coaching post in May 1995, succeeding Keith Otterbein (1986-94). Previously, Pierce served as a Bulldog assistant coach for 12 years.
Under Pierce, Ferris State has won or shared three Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) titles while earning back-to-back (1995 and 1996) berths in the NCAA Division II National Championship playoffs, including a 1995 semifinal-round appearance which represents the highest finish ever in the program's history.
Pierce made his rookie coaching season (1995) a memorable one by directing Ferris State to a 12-1 overall record as the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Division II Semifinals for the first-time ever in the program's history while earning a number three national ranking. As a result of guiding Ferris to to an unprecedented fourth consecutive conference title at that time, Pierce was honored as the GLIAC's Coach of the Year. The following campaign (1996), Ferris State went 10-2 overall and advanced to the NCAA Division II Quarterfinals.
"My major goal is to motivate our players and get the most out of every person in the football program. I've been here for a number of years and have experienced the bad times and the good times," Pierce said. "The one thing you must instill in your program is to keep the players focused on what it takes to win a championship."
Pierce has established firm roots with the Bulldogs since graduating from Sault Ste. Marie (Mich.) High School in 1974. He was a defensive back at Ferris from 1974-77 and later started his coaching career in 1983 under Nick Coso as a graduate assistant and head coach for the junior varsity. When Dan Underwood took over as head coach in 1984-85, Pierce remained on board to coach the inside linebackers. He joined Otterbein's staff in 1986 and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1988.
In his seven years as defensive coordinator, Pierce coached one of the NCAA Division II's top defenses. His 1992 defensive unit led the nation in fewest points allowed and the 1994 Bulldogs were first in the conference in total defense.
Pierce graduated from Ferris State with a degree in trade-technical teacher education in 1979, earning a pair of President's Academic Awards along the way. He completed graduate school in 1985 with a master's degree in athletic administration from Central Michigan University.
"Ferris State is second to none when it comes time to sell our academic programs," Pierce said. "Our football players can't lose sight of the fact that Ferris can get you a job when you get out of college."
Pierce first arrived at Ferris after an all-conference football career at Sault Ste. Marie High School. He also wrestled in high school and was "All-Upper Peninsula" in track.
In 1978, Pierce was an assistant varsity football coach at Sault Ste. Marie High. From 1979-83, he logged two years as head junior varsity football coach, two years as head varsity football coach and four years as head varsity track coach at old Big Bay De Noc (Mich.) High School, which is located in the Upper Peninsula.
Pierce resides in Big Rapids with his wife, Suzie, and their two sons, Jason and Justin.
He's a member of the America Football Coaches Association (AFCA).