American Football Database
Idaho State Bengals football
First season 1963
Athletic director Jeff Tingey
Head coach Mike Kramer
Home stadium Holt Arena
Stadium capacity 12,000
Stadium surface SoftTop Matrix (2011- )
AstroTurf (1970-2010)
Location Pocatello, Idaho,
 United States
Conference Big Sky Conference
All-time record 449–463–20
Postseason bowl record 2–0–0 [1]
Claimed national titles 1 (1981, Div. I-AA)
Conference titles 8 (5 RMAC, 3 Big Sky)
Current uniform
Colors Orange and Black            
Rivals Weber State

The Idaho State Bengals football program represents Idaho State University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA). As of the end of the 2011 season they have an all-time record of 451–472–20 (.488).[2] A charter member of the Big Sky Conference, the ISU Bengals play their home games at Holt Arena, an indoor facility on campus in Pocatello, Idaho.


Idaho State won the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision national championship in 1981 (then Division I-AA) under head coach Dave Kragthorpe. Following two playoff victories at home, the Bengals defeated Eastern Kentucky 34-23 at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas. The quarterback during the championship season was Mike Machurek, who spent several seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

Idaho State also made the 1-AA playoffs in 1983, losing in the first round to Nevada-Reno. They have not been back to the playoffs since, although the Bengals were tri-Big Sky champions in 2002. They were passed over for the playoffs, however, for Montana and Montana State, the other tri-champs that year.

Following the 2010 season, head coach John Zamberlin was fired after four seasons (6-39) and Mike Kramer was hired as the 25th head coach in Idaho State history. During his first season the team won only two games. Kramer was formerly the head coach at Eastern Washington and Montana State.[3] Among his assistants are former University of Alabama football players Todd Bates and Rudy Griffin and former Brigham Young University player Mike Rigell.[4]

Idaho State formerly had spirited intrastate rivalries with both the University of Idaho and Boise State University when all three schools were members of the Big Sky Conference. Since Idaho and BSU left the Big Sky in 1996 to move up to Division I-A, ISU has played the teams infrequently and Weber State University of nearby Ogden, Utah has become ISU's main rival in football. The Bengals also claim a rivalry with the Montana Grizzlies, though ISU has only one victory in the last sixteen meetings.[5]

Conference Affiliations

Conference championships

Year Conference Overall Record Conference Record
1952 RMAC 8–0–0 5–0
1953 6–2–0 5–0
1955 8–1–0 6–0
1957 9–0–0 4–0
1959 6–2–0 3–0
1963 Big Sky 5–3–0 3–1
1981 12–1–0 6–1
2002 8–3–0 5–2
Total Conference Titles 8


The Bengals have had five two-time All-Americans: wide receiver Ed Bell ('68-'69), defensive end Josh Hays ('95-96), placekicker Pete Garces ('98-'99), defensive end Jared Allen ('02-'03), and punter David Harrington ('10-'11). Allen also won the prestigious Buck Buchanan Award in 2003 as the top defensive player in the nation in Division 1-AA. Wide receiver Rodrick Rumble was an All-American in 2011, a season in which he broke the Big Sky conference record for receptions with 112. Return specialist Tavoy Moore was given first-team All-American honors by the American Football Coaches Association for the 2010 season. Punter Jon Vanderwielen earned several All-American honors in 2009.[6]

Head coaching history

Name Years Wins Losses Ties Pct
Babe Caccia 1952–1965 79 38 2 .664
Leo McKillop 1966–1967 4 15 0 .211
Ed Cavanaugh 1968–1971 28 19 0 .596
Bob Griffin 1972–1975 21 20 0 .512
Joe Pascale 1976–1976 1 9 0 .100
Bud Hake 1977–1979 5 27 0 .156
Dave Kragthorpe 1980–1982 21 14 0 .600
Jim Koetter 1983–1987 23 32 1 .411
Garth Hall 1988–1991 9 33 1 .214
Brian McNeely 1992–1996 21 34 0 .382
Tom Walsh 1997–1998 6 16 0 .261
Larry Lewis 1999–2006 40 49 0 .449
John Zamberlin 2007–2010 6 39 0 .133
Mike Kramer 2011–present 2 9 0 .222
Totals 451 472 20 .493

Holt Arena

The Bengals play home games in Holt Arena, an indoor multi-purpose athletic stadium located on the campus of Idaho State University. Completed in September 1970 at the north end of the ISU campus, Holt Arena is the oldest enclosed stadium on a college campus in the United States and the second-oldest overall.[citation needed] Only the Houston Astrodome, completed in 1965, predates it.

The indoor arena was conceived by ISU athletic director Milton W. "Dubby" Holt in 1966. ISU students voted to appropriate not more than $2.8 million to the project two years later. Originally named the ASISU MiniDome, it replaced the outdoor "Spud Bowl" (now Davis Field) as the Bengals' home football stadium. The MiniDome was renamed in 1988 to honor Holt.

After 41 football seasons on AstroTurf, infilled synthetic turf was installed in Holt Arena in July 2011. Similar to FieldTurf, the SoftTop Removable Matrix System [7] is also installed in Cowboys Stadium in the NFL.

Idaho State players in the NFL

A number of players from Idaho State have gone on to play in the National Football League, including Jared Allen, Merrill Hoge, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ed "The Flea" Bell, Mike Machurek and Jeff Charleston.

In addition, a number of ISU alums have gone on to successful coaching careers, including Marvin Lewis, head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals; Dirk Koetter, the former head coach at Boise State and Arizona State and currently offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars; and Kevin Gilbride, offensive coordinator of the New York Giants. (As a graduate assistant at Idaho State, Gilbride served as one of two co-coaches of the ISU women's basketball team.)

ISU also produced several players who went on to be very successful high school football coaches, including Jim and Brent Koetter (both of whom won Idaho state championships at both Pocatello and Highland high schools), and former Bengal quarterback Paul Peterson who led Eagle High School to the Idaho state championship game three times in the past four seasons.


  1. - Idaho State bowls - accessed 2011-09-22
  2. "Football Championship Subdivision Records". NCAA. p. 41. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  3. "Kramer selected to coach Bengals". The Spokesman Review. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  4. "Kramer Announces Staff". Idaho State Athletics. 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  5. - ISU vs. Montana - accessed 2011-09-22
  6. "Moore Named First-Team All-American". Idaho State Athletics. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  7. - Hellas Construction to Install New Holt Arena Turf - 2011-06-02 - accessed 2011-09-22

External links

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Idaho State Bengals football.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with American Football Database, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.