46°43′34″N 117°01′05″W / 46.726, -117.018

1979 [[Script error]]
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ConferenceBig Sky Conference
DivisionScript error
1979 record4–7 (2–5 Big Sky)
Head coachJerry Davitch (2nd season)
Offensive coordinatorBill Tripp (2nd season)
Offensive schemeVeer
Defensive coordinatorTim Hundley (1st season)
Base defense5–2
Home stadiumKibbie Dome
← 1978
1980 →
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Template:1979 Big Sky football standings The 1979 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1979 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Vandals were led by second-year head coach Jerry Davitch and were members of the Big Sky Conference. They played their home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho.

With quarterbacks Jay Goodenbour and Rob Petrillo running the veer offense, the Vandals were 4–7 overall and 2–5 in the Big Sky. They won four of five in mid-season, but dropped their final four games.[1] Idaho lost to rival Boise State for the third straight year; the Broncos went undefeated in conference play but were on probation for a scouting violation and not eligible for the title or the I-AA playoffs.[2]

Notable playersEdit

Junior running back Glen White was the Vandals' leading rusher in 1979,[3] the best season by a UI running back in the 1970s. He missed the opener at Fresno,[4] but gained 889 yards and averaged 5.0 yards per carry in the final ten games;[1] in the game at Idaho State, he rushed for 163 yards on 19 carries.[4][5] A military brat, White graduated from Kaiserslautern American High School in West Germany in 1977. All-Europe for two seasons,[6][7] he had not been recruited by college football programs; a high school coach was a former Vandal and alerted UI head coach Ed Troxel.[3]

While in off-season training in February 1980, White felt weakness and underwent medical testing in Moscow and Seattle.[8] Diagnosed with aplastic anemia, he battled it for several months until his death from complications on August 9 at an Oklahoma City hospital, near his parents' home at Fort Sill.[9][10][11] White, age 22, was posthumously designated an honorary team captain for all eleven games in 1980,[12] and his Vandal teammates wore his number 32 on the left side of their helmets in tribute.[13][14]

Future NFL linebacker Sam Merriman of Tucson, Arizona,[15][16] was a standout on defense in 1979 as a true freshman.[1]


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1979 Idaho Vandals football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
QB 10 Goodenbour, JayJay Goodenbour Jr
QB Petrillo, RobRob Petrillo So
RB 3 Davis, RussellRussell Davis So
RB, WR 12 Tuttle, RockyRocky Tuttle (C) Sr
RB 30 Lappano, TimTim Lappano Sr
RB 32 White, GlenGlen White Jr
RB 33 Idler, TerryTerry Idler Injured 10px So
RB 40 Davenport, RandyRandy Davenport Jr
TE Swenson, AlAl Swenson Fr
TE Meyer, DanDan Meyer Sr
WR, TE 88 Hagadone, MikeMike Hagadone Sr
WR 7 Klein, JackJack Klein So
WR Palumbo, JohnJohn Palumbo Jr
LT 74 Fery, BruceBruce Fery So
LT Hart, RoyalRoyal Hart Jr
LG , Dave MonicoDave Monico Jr
C 69 Coombs, LarryLarry Coombs Sr
RG Girnt, JohnJohn Girnt Jr
RT 70 Riddell, KyleKyle Riddell Sr
Pos. # Name Class
DE 43 Barker, LarryLarry Barker Jr
DT 78 Parker, SteveSteve Parker Sr
NG Nelson, SteveSteve Nelson So
NG 75 Elder, MontyMonty Elder Jr
DT 71 McNeal, MarkMark McNeal (C) Sr
DE Hayes, JayJay Hayes So
LB 50 Hasfurther, MikeMike Hasfurther Sr
LB Marshall, MartyMarty Marshall Sr
LB 51 Eads, ChrisChris Eads Sr
LB 52 Merriman, SamSam Merriman Fr
LB 83 Vance, PhilPhil Vance Sr
LB 90 Williamson, LloydLloyd Williamson Fr
CB 34 Keough, MikeMike Keough Jr
FS 22 , Ray McCannaRay McCanna Jr
SS 25 Miller, KellyKelly Miller So
SS Watts, MarcMarc Watts
SS Brown, RickRick Brown Jr
CB McBride, CarltonCarlton McBride Jr
CB 20 Jessie, RonRon Jessie Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
P 2 Jergo, DionDion Jergo So
P Brockman, ChrisChris Brockman Jr
PK Browne, MikeMike Browne Sr
PK 6 O'Brien, PetePete O'Brien So
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Bill Tripp (OC)
  • Tim Hundley (DC)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Cruz Roja.svg Injured
  • Redshirt.svg Redshirt


Tackle Kyle Riddell, center Larry Coombs, defensive tackle Mark McNeal, and placekicker Pete O'Brien were named to the all-conference team.[9][10] Second team selections were safety Ray McCanna and linebacker Sam Merriman, a true freshman.[10]

NFL DraftEdit

One Vandal senior was selected in the 1980 NFL Draft,[11][12] which lasted twelve rounds (333 selections).

Player Position Round Overall Franchise
Mark McNeal DE 6th 153 Seattle Seahawks


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  5. Killen, John (September 4, 1979). "Pulls no punches". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 1C.
  6. Stewart, Chuck (September 5, 1979). "Vandal boss stresses 'love'". Spokane Daily Chronicle ((Washington)): p. 15.
  7. "Probable starters". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 4C. September 8, 1979.
  8. "Probable starters". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 3C. September 22, 1979.
  9. "3 Vandals honored". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press ((Washington)): p. 30. December 5, 1979.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "2 Vandals on stars". Spokane Daily Chronicle ((Washington)): p. 28. December 7, 1979.
  11. "NFL Draft: Two Palouse players go in early rounds". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 1B. April 30, 1980.
  12. "Patera: We got the best". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press ((Spokane, Washington)): p. C2. April 30, 1980.

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