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1989 [[Script error]]
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Big Sky champion
ConferenceBig Sky Conference
DivisionScript error
1989 record9–3 (8–0 Big Sky)
Head coachJohn L. Smith (1st season)
Offensive coordinatorDan Cozzetto (1st season)
Defensive coordinatorGordon Shaw (1st season)
Home stadiumKibbie Dome
← 1988
1990 →
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Template:1989 Big Sky football standings The 1989 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1989 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Vandals, led by first-year head coach John L. Smith, were members of the Big Sky Conference and played their home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho.

The Vandals won their third consecutive conference title (fourth in five years), and made the I-AA playoffs for the fifth consecutive season, under a third head coach. Led by senior All-American quarterback John Friesz, Idaho finished the regular season at 9–2 and 8–0 in the Big Sky.

Notable gamesEdit

Following two non-conference road losses to open the season at Washington State and Portland State,[1][2] the Vandals won nine straight, which included an undefeated conference record of 8–0. It was the only time in school history that the football team has posted an unblemished conference record.

The Vandals defeated Montana, their only conference loss the previous season, on a Thursday night in the Kibbie Dome in late September, televised by ESPN.[3][4] Idaho beat long-time nemesis Nevada-Reno for the third straight year,[5] only the fourth time in the twelve meetings since the Wolf Pack joined the Big Sky in 1979. The Vandals defeated rival Boise State for the eighth consecutive year, the eighth of twelve straight over the Broncos before a record crowd of 17,600 in the Kibbie Dome.[6]

Division I-AA playoffsEdit

For the fifth consecutive season, Idaho returned to the 16-team I-AA playoffs. The Vandals, on a nine-game winning streak, hosted Eastern Illinois at home but lost 21–38. The game was played before a sparse crowd at the Kibbie Dome two days after Thanksgiving and ended the Vandals' season at 9–3.[7]

Notable playersEdit

The 1989 team included John Friesz,[8] a future collegiate hall of fame quarterback as a three-year starter (1987–89). Friesz was the winner of the Walter Payton Award in 1989,[9][10] and was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the 1990 NFL Draft. He was in the NFL for the next decade with four teams.


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1989 Idaho Vandals football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
QB West, PatPat West
QB Nolan, SteveSteve Nolan Jr
QB 13 Nussmeier, DougDoug Nussmeier 10px Fr
WR 16 Allen, LeeLee Allen Sr
QB 17 Friesz, JohnJohn Friesz Sr
FL 25 Jackson, DavidDavid Jackson So
RB 26 Pearce, DevonDevon Pearce So
WR 30 Dunn, KaseyKasey Dunn So
FL Davis, MichaelMichael Davis Sr
G 50 Rice, MikeMike Rice Jr
G 54 Dorry, FloydFloyd Dorry Fr
C 53 Unger, SteveSteve Unger Sr
T 62 Smith, ShawenShawen Smith So
T 63 Wright, TroyTroy Wright Jr
G 66 Hoff, ChrisChris Hoff Jr
T Neu, ToddTodd Neu Sr
TE 84 Dahlquist, ScottScott Dahlquist Jr
Pos. # Name Class
SS 3 Smith, BrianBrian Smith Sr
FS 22 McCall, KrisKris McCall So
CB 23 Oliver, CharlieCharlie Oliver Jr
CB 33 Green, TerryTerry Green So
LB 39 Jacobs, JimmyJimmy Jacobs Jr
LB 43 Cecil, RogerRoger Cecil Jr
LB 58 Rust, JohnJohn Rust Jr
DT 59 Sirmon, JohnJohn Sirmon Fr
DT 74 Mann, VinceVince Mann So
DE 87 Robinson, JeffJeff Robinson Fr
DE 93 Zeller, MikeMike Zeller Sr
DE 97 Cockrell, BrianBrian Cockrell Fr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 14 Doyle, ThaneThane Doyle So
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Dan Cozzetto (OC)
  • Gordon Shaw (DC)

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


Quarterback John Friesz was named to the all-conference team for a third consecutive year.[3] He was joined by center Steve Unger, guard Troy Wright, wide receiver Lee Allen, defensive end Mike Zeller, linebacker Roger Cecil, and cornerback Charlie Oliver.[3] Second team selections included wide receiver Kasey Dunn, tackles Todd Neu and Chuck Yarbro, linebacker John Rust, and safety Brian Smith.[4]

Friesz was the Big Sky's outstanding offensive player for a third straight year,[5] repeated as a first-team Kodak All-American in Division I-AA,[6] and won the Walter Payton Award.[7][8]

NFL DraftEdit

One Vandal senior was selected in the 1990 NFL Draft, which lasted twelve rounds (332 selections).

Player Position Round Overall Franchise
John Friesz QB 6th 138 San Diego Chargers


  1. Sahlberg, Bert; Grummert, Dale (September 2, 1989). "Cougars heavy favorites as rivalry resumes today". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 4B.
  2. "Idaho at Portland State: probable starting lineups". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 5B. September 9, 1989.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Numerous Vandals earn All-Big Sky honors". Idahonian. Associated Press ((Moscow)): p. 6A. November 28, 1989.
  4. "All-Big Sky: Second team selections". Idahonian. Associated Press ((Moscow)): p. 7A. November 28, 1989.
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named nsrps
  6. "Friesz named Kodak I-AA All-American QB". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 1B. December 2, 1989.
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pnfewn
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named idrecpy

External linksEdit

Template:Big Sky Conference football champions

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