The Ferris State University football program, which has reached the NCAA Division II National Semifinals three of the past four years, has landed one of the nation's top prep coaches as Ryan Partridge was appointed to the Bulldog staff today as an assistant coach in an announcement made by FSU head coach Tony Annese.
The 2018 Max Preps California Coach of the Year, Partridge joins the Bulldog staff after compiling a 40-11 mark as a prep head coach, including most recently going 34-5 the last three years as the head coach and athletic director at Liberty High School in Brentwood, Calif. He's expected to serve as FSU's linebackers coach this fall.
"We're thrilled to land someone of Ryan's caliber to fill an opening on our staff and believe he'll be an outstanding addition," Annese said. "He'll bring great energy and a tremendous work ethic and be an excellent fit for our program. We're looking forward to having him work as part of our defensive staff and believe he'll be able to develop great relationships with our student-athletes and continue the great family culture we've built at Ferris State."
While at Liberty High School, Partridge directed the Northern California powerhouse to the 2018 D1-A State Championship after compiling a perfect 10-0 league mark. His first Liberty team, in 2017, claimed the school's first North Coast Section Division I Championship. This past season, in 2019, he guided Liberty to a 10-2 overall record.
During his distinguished prep coaching career, Partridge was tabbed as California's Large School Coach of the Year by Cal Hi Sports and named as the San Francisco 49ers High School Coach of the Year in 2018. Partridge also was chosen as the 2018 Bay Area News Group Coach of the Year, the Prep 2 Prep Coach of the Year and the NFL Coach of the Week while being a nominee for the National Football League's High School Coach of the Year Award. Multiple student-athletes under his watch have earned NCAA Division I scholarships at schools such as Oregon, Washington State, Air Force, Eastern Washington and Southern Utah among others.
"I knew right when I met Coach Annese that I wanted to go work for him at Ferris State," Partridge said. "He's the best college football coach in my mind and I want to learn from him. I've got some friends that have worked with him in the past and just rave about the type of program and culture he runs so I'm excited to get going and help us try and win a national championship."
As the athletic director at Liberty, Partridge also oversaw 18 athletic programs, which included 48 teams and 90 coaching staff members. His football program grew to one of the largest among public schools in the Bay Area with 168 athletes invested in the program.
Partridge, 36, began his prep head coaching career at Livermore High School in 2016 where he coached nine all-league players, which was the school's most in 25 years. He previously served from 2013-16 on the staff at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, including roles as the special teams coordinator, outside linebackers coach, passing game coordinator, varsity baseball coach and more.
As a prep student-athlete, Partridge competed for Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., and served as a team captain. He was an all-league honoree and All-East Bay Area pick who was tabbed to play in the California Shrine Bowl and earned Athlete of the Year kudos.
Partridge went on to play collegiately for Golden West College in Huntington Beach where he was a two-time team Most Valuable Player and all-state wide receiver while also garnering Academic All-America laurels. He then went to the University of Kentucky and later transferred to Northern Arizona University where he completed his collegiate career as a wide receiver and punt returner. Partridge earned his bachelor's degree from Cal-State East Bay.
Partridge is part of a large football family, which includes his cousin, Chris Partridge, who currently serves as the co-defensive coordinator at Ole Miss after previously being the special teams coordinator at the University of Michigan. His father and five uncles all played Division I college football with two eventually going on to play professionally in the NFL and the United States Football League.
Partridge and his wife, Megan, have three children.
Ferris State reached the national semifinals for the third time in four years in 2019. Last fall, along with reaching the national semifinals, FSU also claimed a second-straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championship with an unblemished league record. Last year marked the Bulldogs' fourth-straight trip to the national quarterfinals or beyond, which is the longest streak in the country. Over the past two seasons, the Bulldogs have compiled a 27-2 mark.
Over the last six seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 72-9 overall record and claimed four conference championships, posted four unbeaten regular-seasons, captured three regional titles and reached the national quarterfinals four times. Ferris State has also accumulated three Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won 12 postseason games in addition to an appearance in the 2018 National Championship game.
The Bulldogs are one of only four teams in all of college football at any NCAA level to win 11 games each of the last six years along with Alabama, Ohio State and North Dakota State. FSU is also the only D2 team in the country to reach the national quarterfinals for four consecutive years and the Bulldogs' six-straight playoff appearances is the second-longest longest streak in the nation.
Ferris State also holds the GLIAC's best mark and the best overall record of all 21 collegiate programs in Michigan at 87-16 overall since the arrival of Tony Annese as head coach in 2012.