Ferris State athletics director Perk Weisenburger, who has guided the Bulldogs to historic championship success over the past 11 years, announced his retirement May 21 after more than 40 years of high-level achievements and service as an administrator in intercollegiate athletics.
Weisenburger’s retirement is effective Oct. 1, 2021, with the university slated to begin a search for a new athletic director in the near future.
“Perk Weisenburger has been an outstanding champion for Bulldog Athletics, and I am very grateful for his service to Ferris State University,” said Ferris State president David Eisler in a statement. “His passion for Ferris has greatly impacted the trajectory of our athletic programs, and his leadership efforts have changed the lives of countless student-athletes.”
Since taking over the Bulldog program in the fall of 2010, Weisenburger has led Ferris State athletics to many major accomplishments, including 23 conference regular-season titles, 17 conference tournament championships, eight NCAA regional crowns, six national semifinal appearances, three berths in a national title game and the school’s first national championship.
Overall, all 17 of the Bulldogs’ varsity athletics programs have had representation in NCAA postseason competition at least once during the Weisenburger era while eight of FSU’s 10 current head coaches were also hired during his time as the school’s athletics director.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Perk for the past 11 years,” said Ferris State hockey coach Bob Daniels. “His dedication to Ferris State’s student-athlete experience and his desire to assist all the athletic programs has been a driving force for the department’s success. All of the department’s championships across all the programs has sometimes overshadowed the tremendous success our student-athletes have enjoyed in the classroom. Perk’s well-balanced approach to athletics has led the way.”
The many highlights under Weisenburger’s direction include the school’s first-ever NCAA Division I Frozen Four showing and national championship game appearance in men’s hockey in 2012.
“The decision to step away from Bulldog athletics was very difficult but it became increasing clear that now is the right time for a new vision that will create fresh energies and perspectives,” Weisenburger said. “After 11 very productive years at Ferris State and 40 years total as an intercollegiate athletic administrator, it is time to pass the baton, move on and for me to focus on other priorities and opportunities. My time at Ferris State has been some of the most rewarding as a professional and it has been extremely gratifying to work with such an outstanding group of coaches, staff and student-athletes. I will always be grateful for and extremely proud of who we are and what we stand for.
“I want to thank President Dave Eisler, former vice-president Jerry Scoby and current vice-president Jim Bachmeier for their trust, support and guidance as we charted multiple pathways for growth and success. Additionally, a heartfelt thanks to all the talented and dedicated Bulldog student-athletes past and present, our outstanding coaches, the hardest working staff in athletics plus the university and Big Rapids communities at large for their support. To our alumni, sponsors and donors, we cannot do what we do without your support and contributions. Thank you.”
Weisenburger has also played a lead role in several major facility upgrades, highlighted by the recent announcement of the new $15.3 million Center for Athletics Performance (CAP) project, which will equip FSU’s talented student-athletes with championship-caliber training and conditioning facilities for years to come. The Bulldogs also opened the new South Athletic Complex and installed new synthetic turf surfaces in three venues with Weisenburger at the department’s helm.
Under Weisenburger’s leadership, the Bulldogs’ Division I hockey program made the transition from the former CCHA to the WCHA. He also recently guided FSU’s move back to the new CCHA, which begins play this fall, and chaired the search committee and process that led to the appointment of Don Lucia as the league commissioner.
Additionally, Weisenburger has worked closely with university administration on progressive initiatives in the gender equity area that have led to advancements for the entire Bulldog student-athlete population.
A Michigan native, Weisenburger was tabbed as the Bulldogs’ athletics director following a nationwide search and began his duties at FSU on Sept. 10, 2010, returning to his home state following more than five years (2005-10) as the associate athletics director for external operations at UNLV.
“I want to publicly express my love and gratitude to my spouse, Buffy, for her unconditional support and understanding of my passion for building teams, cultures and championship opportunities and for recognizing the time and energy that is required to do this job,” Weisenburger said. “I also want to thank our adult sons, Jack and Joe, for their support as Bulldog fans and for enjoying stadium food too often as a replacement for sit-down family dinners.”