Bryant Bulldogs football

The Bryant Bulldogs football program represents Bryant University in college football. The Bulldogs are members of the Northeast Conference and compete at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level. Since its inception in 1999, the team has played its home game at Bulldog Stadium in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Bryant Bulldogs football
2019 Bryant Bulldogs football team
First season1999
Head coachChris Merritt
1st season,
StadiumBulldog Stadium
(Capacity: 5,500)
Year built1999
Field surfaceTurf
LocationSmithfield, Rhode Island
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceNortheast Conference
Past conferencesNortheast-10
All-time record11281 (.580)
Playoff appearances2
Playoff record0–2
Conference titles2
ColorsBlack and Gold[1]


Bryant University football was created in 1999 joining the Division II Northeast-10 Conference which they had been charter members of since the conference's inception.

Bryant has only had 3 coaches since its inception. The first Bulldog coach was Jim Miceli who coached the team from 1999 until 2003 followed by the second Bulldog coach Marty Fine, who coached the team from 2004- 2016. Before becoming the Bryant head coach, Fine was an assistant head coach at Iowa State University. In his third year as Bryant head coach, Fine led the Bulldogs to the playoffs. Fine resigned from his position on December 1, 2016. On January 3, 2017, Bryant University hired of James Perry as the current head coach of the Bulldog football program.

Bryant made the playoffs in its 8th season as a team, hosting the first-round game against West Chester University. The crowd was the largest recorded in Bryant's short history with 5,434 fans in attendance. The game came down to the final drive with Bryant in possession, but came up short after an interception, sealing the game and the win for West Chester University.

With Bryant's success not only in football but in all sports, Bryant began its transition to Division I. Bryant considered three conferences; The Northeast Conference, The Patriot League and The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. With the move to Division I, Bryant would have the ability to offer scholarships to its football players for the first time in program history. After a long search, Bryant accepted an invite to the NEC and started competing Division I in 2008–09. They have been playoff eligible and a full member of the NEC by 2012.

The beginning, the Miceli era

Bryant Bulldogs football started in the fall of 1999. They played their first season in front of great support. In their home opener against Assumption College the team packed the stands with 4,817 fans. From 1999–2002 the team operated at around .500, they showed signs of great play, but still showed that they were a young team. The team was showing improvement and the fans were enjoying it. Bulldog Stadium has been drawing fans since the beginning, on the other hand the team was not doing as well. In 2003 it was an all-time low and the end of the Miceli era. The team posted a 3–7 record, with two losing streaks of three. With the resignation of Coach Miceli after the 2003 season. Which led to the time of change at Bryant and in athletics it began with the addition of coach Marty Fine.

Marty Fine era

Marty Fine took over the football team in the 2004 season. 2004 was a major year for Bryant; it went from Bryant College to Bryant University; this change was the stepping-stone to all future university moves. One of those was athletics, and coach Fine was a piece to the puzzle. In his first season, he posted a .500 record, but everyone around the program saw the direction he was taking the team. Being an assistant head coach at Iowa State University, he brought the drive and expectations of a Division I program with him. During the next two seasons under Marty Fine the team posted 7–3 and 8–3 records (0–1 in playoffs). He also brought the hype to the program that was needed.

Under Fine the team has brought in many Division I transfers the most notable is Lorenzo Perry, a transfer from UMass Amherst. Lorenzo Perry in just two years broke almost all the rushing records at the university. He was also a finalist in the Harlen Hill Award, the Heisman Trophy for Division II, while he did not win the trophy he did make the NCAA All-American Team. During his four-year tenure, he became the all-time leader in wins for Bryant football and has turned the program around and brought in great recruiting classes.

The biggest move in the Fine era was the move to Division I. Under coach fine they had three consecutive winning seasons before the move to Division I. The team also had its longest win streak at seven straight to start the season. All these accomplishments sent the team up perfectly for the transition. In 2008 the team began to give its first scholarships and began play in the top division of college athletics.

The James Perry era

On January 3, 2017 Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley and Director of Athletics Bill Smith announced the hiring of James Perry as the next head coach of the Bulldog football program. An outstanding quarterback during his playing days, Perry has instilled an offensive mentality of "Fast and Physical" football to each of his coaching stops. He has led Princeton to Ivy League titles in 2013 and 2016, coaching three All-Ivy League quarterbacks over the past four seasons and guiding the Tigers into one of the program's most impressive offensive eras.

A 2000 graduate of Brown University, Perry is no stranger to the Ocean State, spending three years at his alma mater as an offensive assistant before joining the Princeton staff in 2010. He coached the quarterbacks and served as recruiting coordinator for the Bears, helping them win an Ivy League crown in 2008. Michael Dougherty thrived under Perry, graduating eighth all-time in league history with 487 career completions and 11th all-time with 5,763 career passing yards while also setting a still-standing Ivy League record for total offense in a game (538 yards in 2008).

As a quarterback at Brown, Perry led the Bears to the 1999 Ivy League Championship, finishing the season with 3,255 passing yards and 27 touchdowns. He was named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award and was the recipient of both the Bulger Lowe Award as the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year in New England and the New England Football Writers Gold Helmet of the Year. He was a three-time First Team All-Ivy League pick and earned the 1999 Ivy League Player of the Year.

In addition to his numerous accolades, Perry set virtually every school and Ivy League passing record during his playing career. He graduated as the all-time leader in total offense in a career (9,236), passing yards in a career (9,294) and season (3,255), completions in a career (789) and season (309), and touchdown passes in a career (74) and game (6), still holding the Ivy League mark in the final three. Perry threw for over 400 yards in a game seven times in his career.

On December 3, 2018, it was announced that Perry had accepted the head coaching job at his alma mater Brown University. Perry served as the Bulldogs' head coach for the 2017 and 2018 seasons, posting back-to-back winning seasons and a 12-10 record overall.

The Chris Merritt era

On December 21, 2018 Bryant University President Ronald K. Machtley and Director of Athletics Bill Smith officially announced Chris Merritt as the fourth head coach of the Bryant football program. Merritt spent the past 18 years as the head coach at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida. He posted an overall record 172-45 (.792), leading the Explorers to two state finals appearances (2014, 2018), five Regional Championships, 14 District Championships and an 80-4 record in district competition in the largest high school classification in the state of Florida. In addition, Merritt's program has produced over 100 collegiate football players in 18 seasons at the helm of Christopher Columbus.

All-time records


Coach Years Record Win %
Jim Miceli 1999–2003 26–15 .634
Marty Fine 2004–2016 80–61 .567
James Perry 2017-2018 12-10 .545
Chris Merritt 2019-Present 4-8 .273
Totals 1999–2018 121–94 .562


Opponent Record Last Win Streak
Albany 2–2 2011 Lost 1
American International 3–6 2011 Won 2
Assumption 10–0 2013 Won 10
Becker 1–0 2006 Won 1
Bentley 4–5 2007 Won 3
Brown 0–1 ---- Lost 1
Bucknell 1–1 2014 Won 1
Central Connecticut St. 3–4 2014 Won 3
C.W. Post 1–4 2007 Won 1
Duquesne 4–3 2014 Won 2
Fordham 1–1 2010 Won 1
Gannon 1–0 2003 Won 1
Hofstra 0–1 ---- Lost 1
Holy Cross 1–1 2015 Lost 1
Iona 1–0 2008 Won 1
Liberty 0–1 ---- Lost 1
UMass Amherst 0–1 ---- Lost 1
UMass Lowell 2–0 2002 Won 2
Maine 1–3 2014 Won 1
Marist 0–2 ---- Lost 2
Merrimack 6–6 2014 Won 5
Monmouth 1–5 2012 Lost 1
Mount Ida 1–0 2001 Won 1
Pace 8–0 2007 Won 8
Rhode Island 0–1 ---- Lost 1
Robert Morris 6–1 2014 Won 1
Sacred Heart 3–3 2012 Lost 1
Saint Anselm 7–3 2010 Won 5
Saint Francis (PA) 5–1 2014 Won 1
Southern Connecticut St. 4–6 2009 Won 2
Stonehill 8–1 2011 Won 8
Stony Brook 1–3 2018 Lost 1
Wagner 4–2 2013 Won 1
West Chester 0–1 ---- Lost 1

Year by year performance

Coach Season Record Home Away Win % Average (Total) Home Attendance
Jim Miceli 1999 3–2 2–0 1–2 .600 2,940 (5,880)
Jim Miceli 2000 6–3 4–1 2–2 .666 2,181 (10,905)
Jim Miceli 2001 7–2 4–1 3–1 .777 3,221 (16,105)
Jim Miceli 2002 6–3 3–1 3–2 .666 2,912 (11,648)
Jim Miceli 2003 4–5 3–1 1–4 .444 2,706 (10,824)
Marty Fine 2004 5–5 2–3 2–2 .500 3,305 (16,525)
Marty Fine 2005 7–3 5–0 2–3 .700 3,999 (19,995)
Marty Fine 2006 8–3 5–2 3–1 .750 4,226 (29,582)
Marty Fine 2007 8–3 4–0 4–3 .750 4,686 (18,744)
Marty Fine 2008 7–4 4–1 3–3 .637 5,302 (26,510)
Marty Fine 2009 5–6 3–2 2–4 .475 4,617 (23,805)
Marty Fine 2010 7–4 6–1 1–3 .637 4,391 (30,742)
Marty Fine 2011 7–4 4–2 3–2 .636 5,929 (35,572)
Marty Fine 2012 4–7 2–4 2–3 .364 3,288 (19,723)
Marty Fine 2013 4–7 3–4 2–3 .364 3,581 (25,064)
Marty Fine 2014 8–3 5–1 3–2 .727 N/A
Marty Fine 2015 5–6 3–1 2–5 .455 N/A
Marty Fine 2016 5–6 4–1 1–5 .455 N/A
James Perry 2017 6–5 4–1 2–4 .545 N/A
James Perry 2018 6–5 3–2 3–3 .545 N/A
Totals 1999–2017 112–81 70-27 42–54 .582 3,846 (315,412)


  1. Bryant University Bulldogs Sports Information. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
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