Monday, May 21, 2018
Colleges

Frozen Four finalist Ferris State Bulldogs realize few have heard of them or their school

TAMPA — Where's Ferris?

Yes, the Bulldogs from Ferris State have gotten a "Bueller … ?"-type reaction as they've advanced in the NCAA tournament.

Unlike Boston College, their opponent in tonight's Frozen Four national title game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Bulldogs don't come from a major market and are not associated with a traditional power conference.

They don't mind that many couldn't point out their Big Rapids, Mich., campus on a map or instantly recognize any other Ferris State sports team (hockey is the only Division I sport at the otherwise Division II school). After all, many of their initial reactions to Ferris State were a blank stare, too.

"I kind of looked at the card," said junior forward Kyle Bonis, remembering his first interaction with associate head coach Drew Famulak, when he was 16. "And it was like, 'Who is Ferris State?'

"We kind of enjoy (the anonymity). We're a bunch of kids that are kind of small town and, in a lot of cases, kids that big schools took a pass on. Every time we win games … and play well, it's like, 'Maybe they made a mistake.' "

In a study of counterparts, there's no mistaking the pedigree of Ferris State's opponent, Boston College, nor the level of difficulty the Bulldogs face in trying to collect their first national title. Boston College is the consensus No. 1 team in the country, in the Frozen Four for the fifth time in seven years and gunning for its third title in the past five seasons. The latter has not been accomplished in more than a half-century.

Beyond the storied tradition coach Jerry York has established at his alma mater, the Eagles, while technically a "smaller" school than Ferris State (9,099 undergraduates compared to 13,543), are located just outside of Boston and are one piece of an athletic department that has several prominent squads.

"Clearly, we're a nationally known school as far as athletics and play in the ACC," York said. "We play Florida State and Duke in basketball. In hockey, we play Boston University and Maine. We're a Division I school in all sports where Ferris is just Division I in hockey, so they might not be as well-known to the ACC people or Pac-12."

Even in the hockey world, there's a distinct difference between the programs. The NHL comes to Chestnut Hill, Mass., on a regular basis. Boston College has had at least one draft pick every year since 1996, and nine on its current roster already have been drafted.

None of the current Bulldogs have been drafted, and most were passed over in the recruiting process by schools such as Boston College.

Few came in with as little fanfare as Bonis, who scored the winning goal in Thursday's semifinal against Union.

Only offered an opportunity to walk-on with the Bulldogs two years ago, Bonis grew up on a 2,000-acre farm off a dirt road 10 minutes outside of Lindsay, Ontario. When he wasn't caring for his family's 120 cows or on a tractor tending to the genetic soybeans last summer, Bonis was in his barn, shooting puck after puck to quicken his release.

All that work paid off with 4:43 left in the third period Thursday, and the Bulldogs now share the stage with the high-flying Eagles.

"It's kind of surreal," Bonis said. "We get to play for the national championship."

Laura Keeley can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Published: 05/20/18
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as USF's football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," ...
Published: 05/20/18
ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

The ACC has released some kickoff and TV information for the first three weeks of the season:Week 1 (previously announced)Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas): Sunday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., ABCVirginia Tech at Florida State: Monday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m., ESP...
Published: 05/18/18
Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Old, unofficial news is expected to become old, official news today with a formal announcement that Florida State and Boise State are kicking off the 2019 season in Jacksonville.  A lot has changed since the schools announced the series (FSU pla...
Published: 05/16/18
FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

What had been an open secret for months is now open and shut: Group of Five power Boise State will face FSU at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in the teams' 2019 opener.A formal announcement is expected Wednesday, but the '19 schedule on Boise's offi...
Published: 05/15/18
RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

TAMPA — He’s the accidental pitcher who can’t be pigeonholed into a defined role. He’s a well-spoken economics major who morphs into fire-breathing intensity on the mound. And he’s one of the biggest reasons why the University of Tampa Spartans are p...
Published: 05/15/18
Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

One of the Florida Gators' top incoming recruits was released from jail early Wednesday after police allege he kicked a female's car and broke her phone after an argument.Justin Watkins — a four-star athlete from Clermont — and ...
Published: 05/10/18
Why Gators’ Dan Mullen still name-drops his second grade teacher

Why Gators’ Dan Mullen still name-drops his second grade teacher

When first-year Gators coach Dan Mullen spoke to a packed crowd at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club this winter, he told stories about the stars Florida fans recognize instantly.Tim Tebow. Steve Spurrier. Percy Harvin.Then he name-dropped someone els...
Published: 05/10/18
Florida Gators coordinator Todd Grantham to earn $1.39 million. Here are the other salaries

Florida Gators coordinator Todd Grantham to earn $1.39 million. Here are the other salaries

New Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be one of the highest paid assistants in the country, earning $1.39 million in base pay this year.The Gators released the contracts for Grantham and the rest of Dan Mullen's staff on Tuesday aftern...
Published: 05/08/18
Why Dan Mullen wants his Gators to hit every school in Florida

Why Dan Mullen wants his Gators to hit every school in Florida

As the Florida Gators hit the road for the spring evaluation period, coach Dan Mullen has a goal."It's really important for me that we try to get into every school in the state of Florida," Mullen said Monday before a speech to the Polk County Gator ...
Published: 05/08/18