NCAA Report Release
INDIANAPOLIS – The Ferris State University men's ice hockey program has ranked among the nation's elite hockey programs on the ice the last few years as evidenced by the Bulldogs' recent trip to the Frozen Four in 2012.
In addition, FSU has also been one of the nation's most successful programs in the classroom, according to the NCAA's recent release of the Academic Progress Rates (APR). Ferris State led the entire Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and was eighth overall in the nation for the most recent data figures dating to the historic 2011-12 campaign.
FSU posted a near-perfect 997 overall score in 2011-12, ranking behind only Brown, Colorado College, Dartmouth, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Bentley in the top eight overall.
The scores, which are based on eligibility and retention of scholarship players, include data from the 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years.
"The APR is an indicator of student-athletes staying for four years and leaving with a degree," said FSU head coach Bob Daniels, a two-time National Coach of the Year Award recipient who will embark on his 22nd season behind the Bulldogs' bench as the program's all-time winningest coach in 2013-14. "A lot of credit goes to Associate Head Coach Drew Famulak for recruiting kids who value the opportunity to play hockey and receive a quality education while leaving with a degree.
"It's also a reflection on the emphasis of our athletics department in achieving excellence both in competition and in the classroom," he added.
The average score for men's ice hockey teams was 983, which was tops among all NCAA sports. FSU was one of four CCHA teams found in the top 25 overall as the Bulldogs were followed by Ohio State (10th), Notre Dame (19th) and Lake Superior State (23rd).
Every Division I sports team calculates its APR each academic year, based on the eligibility, graduation and retention of each scholarship student-athlete. Teams scoring below certain thresholds can face consequences, such as practice restrictions and restrictions on postseason competition. Rates are based on the past four years' performance.
NCAA President Mark Emmert noted that 10 years after its creation, the APR continues to encourage student-athletes to succeed in the classroom and campuses to support them in their education.
"These are strong and meaningful academic standards, and we are pleased to witness the continued improvement of student-athletes' academic performance," Emmert said. "The NCAA and its member schools believe in supporting success both on and off the playing field. As educators, we must continue to embrace our role in providing the necessary skills to continue this high achievement."
Ferris State's 997 score for the 2011-12 was its highest-ever figure in the Division I APR listing. It also marked the fifth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs saw an improvement in their overall score. FSU has achieved a 967 score or higher in each of the past eight years to date.
The Bulldogs' 2011-12 squad, which won the CCHA Regular-Season Championship for the second time and advanced to the national championship game at the Frozen Four, included a strong eight-member senior class and all eight earned FSU degrees. The group included the CCHA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in captain Chad Billins along with senior Tommy Hill, who received the NCAA's prestigious Elite 89 Award for holding the highest grade point average at the Frozen Four.
FSU continued its academic excellence this past season as the 2012-13 Bulldog Hockey team posted an impressive 3.29 team grade point average for the spring term. Five seniors also received Ferris State degrees this season in Kyle Bonis, Eric Alexander, Travis Ouellette, Rob Granett and Matt Kirzinger.
This past year, Bonis was among 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award presented to student-athletes who excel both on and off the ice. It marked the second-straight year in which a Ferris State skater has been one of the final 10 nominees as Billins earned the same distinction in his senior campaign.
On the ice, the Bulldogs ended the 2012-13 season with a 16-16-5 overall record and placed fifth in their final season of CCHA competition. FSU also earned a first-round bye in the league tournament for the fourth consecutive season, joining Miami (Ohio) as the lone league members to receive a bye in each of the final four years of the CCHA.
This past season's campaign came on the heels of a historic 2011-12 campaign in which Ferris State received its first-ever number one national ranking, won the CCHA regular-season championship, claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional crown and advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time in school history.
Ferris State will embark on its first season in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) this fall and begin its 2013-14 campaign with a non-league series on the road at Colgate on Oct. 5-6 in Hamilton, N.Y.
Note: Pictured are FSU's 2011-12 graduating hockey seniors (from left to right): Taylor Nelson, Brett Wysopal, Aaron Schmit, FSU President David L. Eisler, Derek Graham, Tommy Hill, Michael Trebish