Ready for the challenge

Bronkema brings passion for Ferris State into head coaching job

Andy Bronkema stood on the sideline inside Jim Wink Arena as he overlooked Ferris State’s youth basketball camp, unaware that he would be the leader of the program a couple of weeks later.

After a month of being the interim head coach, Bronkema told me that regardless of how the search for a new men’s basketball coach ended, he valued the opportunity to be the man in command, even if it was in an interim role.

He talked about how much the experience had helped him grow and taught him so much about himself as he went from being Ferris State’s top assistant coach to being the temporary face of the program at the drop of a hat. It was an overwhelming but valuable experience.

IN COMMAND: Andy Bronkema (left) will be named the head men’s basketball coach at Ferris State today after serving as an assistant coach at FSU over the past six season. Bronkema’s introductory press conference will be held at 2 p.m. inside Wheeler Pavilion. (Courtesy photo)

That trial period will prove even more valuable as Bronkema is named the 13th head coach in Ferris State men’s basketball history at 2 p.m. today inside Wheeler Pavilion.

A coaching search that began following the departure of one of Bronkema’s biggest coaching influences in Bill Sall ended with FSU selecting one of its own.

He’s never been a head coach before, but a day didn’t go by in the past six years, Bronkema said, when he hadn’t thought about being in that position. Now the McBain native and former Cornerstone University hoops standout will have the opportunity to lead a program he helped shape as one of the best in the GLIAC over the past few years.

“I don’t have that experience yet, but everyday for the past 10 years, you’re thinking about being that head coach,” he said. “I’m going to attack this with an open mind and understand that I don’t have all the answers. With a lot of hard work, and good people around me like we have at Ferris, I’m confident we’ll be able to get the job done.”

Bronkema has been a big part of making the FSU program one of the best in the GLIAC during the past three seasons as head assistant.

In his first year as the program’s number one assistant in 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen. FSU followed up the memorable campaign by winning a share of a

second-straight GLIAC North Division crown in 2011-12. The Bulldogs have made five-straight league tournament berths to date in Bronkema’s tenure as an assistant coach and FSU has recorded more victories in the competitive GLIAC North than any other school over the last three years.

He’s been a big part of the Bulldogs’ recruiting efforts, helping bring in and develop seven players that have earned all conference honors.

There will be a learning curve and Bronkema know it, but there is something to be said about bringing in someone who has a familiarity and passion for the program he will be representing.

This is what Bronkema brings to the table as head coach at Ferris State. The players love him, he loves the program. There is an intangible value that comes with the loyalty Bronkema has show to the FSU program and the Big Rapids community.

“It was nothing against the other coaching candidates, but everyone was hoping he’d get the job,” Ferris State point guard Dietrich Lever said of Bronkema. “Having a familiar face in place is always better for the program. It’s definitely a relief, because not knowing who the head coach was going to be, you’re more hesitant in going about your business and just hoping everything is going to turn out all right.”

Ferris State has a guy its players are willing to fight for. That will go a long way in determining Bronkema’s success at FSU.

Ferris State will hold a press conference to introduce Bronkema at 2 p.m. today.

The press conference is open to both the media and the public and will be held inside FSU’s Wheeler Pavilion, which is located at the Top Taggart Field stadium in Big Rapids.

Both the public and all local and regional media are invited to attend. Members of the media will have an opportunity to speak with Bronkema and ask questions following opening statements. It will also provide the public with an opportunity to meet the new head coach.

For additional information, please contact Rob Bentley in the Ferris State Athletics Communications Office at (231) 349-1934. Media members may also email bentleyr@ferris.edu.

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