Dave Kragthorpe
Biographical details
Born (1933-05-01) May 1, 1933 (age 87)
Playing career
Head coaching record
Tournaments3–0 (Div. I-AA playoffs)
Accomplishments and honors
1 Division I-AA National (1981)
1 Big Sky (1981)
Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1989)

Dave Kragthorpe (born May 1, 1933) is a former American football player and coach.[1] He was the head coach at South Dakota State University in 1969, at Idaho State University from 1980 to 1982, and at Oregon State University from 1985 to 1990, compiling a career college football record of .375.

Early lifeEdit

Kragthorpe attended Utah State University in Logan, where he excelled as a two-way tackle for the Aggies from 1951 to 1954. In addition, he was also on the baseball team. Despite all his athletic obligations, Kragthorpe graduated with double bachelor's degrees in physical education and recreation education in 1955. A short time later, he returned to Utah State and earned his master's degree in secondary education.

Coaching careerEdit

Kragthorpe was an assistant coach for two seasons at Montana and two at South Dakota State, he was promoted to head coach in 1969, and posted a 3–7 record. He then served as offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at Brigham Young University, under LaVell Edwards. The Cougars were one of the first programs committed to throwing the football in the 1970s, a time when "three yards and a cloud of dust" was still the dominant sentiment in college football.

After a winless 0–11 in 1979 under Bud Hake, Idaho State athletic director, I. J. Babe Caccia, decided to try to import some of the passing magic to Pocatello from nearby Provo, Utah. He hired Kragthorpe as his head coach in November 1979,[1] and the Bengals improved to 6–5 in 1980 and came within nine points of eventual national champion Boise State in the season finale.

The best results were definitely in his second season in 1981, when the Bengals won the Big Sky Conference title, hosted two playoff wins, and won the Division I-AA championship in Texas for a 12–1 season. They were led by senior quarterback Mike Machurek, a JC transfer from California; he was sixth round pick in the 1982 NFL Draft and was a reserve player with the Detroit Lions. During the 1981 season, Idaho State outscored its opponents 422–172. The following year, the Bengals fell to 3–8; Kragthorpe was .600 in three seasons at ISU, from 1980 to 1982.

After the 1982 season, Kragthorpe stepped away from the sidelines to take over as athletics director at his alma mater, Utah State University in Logan. After two years, he returned to coaching in December 1984.[2][3][4]

Kragthorpe became the head coach at Oregon State University in Corvallis,[2][3][4] and implemented a pass-oriented offense, penned the "Air Express," in 1985. This offense did not correlate to much success in the Pacific-10 Conference, as Kragthorpe failed to have a winning record in any of his six seasons with Oregon State, compiling an overall record of .269. In recognition of how difficult the Oregon State job was perceived to be in those days, Kragthorpe won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1989, despite having a losing record that year with the Beavers.

1985 Oregon State vs. WashingtonEdit

Despite Kragthorpe's record at Oregon State, he will be forever linked to one of the greatest wins in Oregon State history. In his first season under the helm at Oregon State, Kragthorpe took his Beavers (2–4) in to Husky Stadium in Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies as 37-point underdogs. After sixty minutes of play, and a blocked punt with 1:29 left to go in the game that was recovered for a Beaver touchdown, Oregon State pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college football history, winning 21–20.[5]

Coaching treeEdit

Kragthorpe's "coaching tree" includes both Jim and Brent Koetter, multiple state championship winning coaches at Pocatello and Highland High School in Pocatello; Marvin Lewis, who played and coached under Kragthorpe at ISU, now head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals; and Mike Shepherd, receivers and quarterbacks coach under Kragthorpe at Idaho State; who has had a long career as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in the National Football League.

Assistant coaches under Kragthorpe who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:

Later lifeEdit

In 1994, Kragthorpe was hired by the USU Alumni Association to resurrect the university's alumni chapters program. Despite officially retiring in 2001, Kragthorpe can still be found at his desk in the Alumni Office, overseeing the USU alumni chapters in Idaho and northern Nevada.

Kragthorpe is a huge supporter of USU and Aggie athletics. He is a member of the Old Main Society, Alumni Sustaining Membership program, Big Blue Club, and the Emeriti Association. In 2005, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. His love of sports continues to live on in his children also. His son, Kurt, is a sports writer for the Salt Lake Tribune. Another son, Steve Kragthorpe, was the head football coach at the University of Louisville from 2007 to 2009, but was fired in November 2009. He is currently the quarterbacks coach at LSU.

Kragthorpe and his wife, Barbara, split their time between Logan, Utah and Louisville, Kentucky.

Head coaching recordEdit

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
South Dakota State Jackrabbits (North Central Conference) (1969)
1969 South Dakota State 3–7 3–3 3rd
South Dakota State: 3–7 3–3
Idaho State Bengals (Big Sky Conference) (1980–1982)
1980 Idaho State 6–5 4–4 T–3rd
1981 Idaho State 12–1 6–1 T–1st W National Championship Game
1982 Idaho State 3–8 1–6 8th
Idaho State: 21–14 11–11
Oregon State Beavers (Pacific-10 Conference) (1985–1990)
1985 Oregon State 3–8 2–6 9th
1986 Oregon State 3–8 2–5 10th
1987 Oregon State 2–9 0–7 10th
1988 Oregon State 4–6–1 2–5–1 8th
1989 Oregon State 4–7–1 3–4–1 6th
1990 Oregon State 1–10 1–6 10th
Oregon State: 17–48–2 10–33–2
Total: 41–69–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Football coaches: BYU assistant takes over Idaho State program". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press ((Idaho)): p. 1B. November 28, 1979.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cawood, Neil (December 29, 1984). "OSU's search finally ends". Eugene Register-Guard ((Oregon)): p. 1B.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Kragthorpe will coach Beavers". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press ((Spokane, Washington)): p. 16. December 29, 1984.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Cawood, Neil (December 30, 1984). "OSU to throw, says new coach". Eugene Register-Guard ((Oregon)): p. 1E.
  5. "Oregon State stuns UW, 21-20". Lewiston Morning Tribune ((Idaho)): p. 3C. October 20, 1985.
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