Idaho State Bengals Football
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Idaho State Bengals Football

Idaho State Bengals football
Idaho State Bengals spirit mark.svg
First season1902
Athletic directorPauline Thiros [1]
Head coachRob Phenicie
3rd season, 13-17 (.433)
StadiumHolt Arena
(Capacity: 12,000)
Field surfaceSoftTop Matrix
LocationPocatello, Idaho
ConferenceBig Sky Conference
All-time record
Bowl record2–0 (1.000)
Claimed nat'l titles1 (1981, Div. I-AA)
Conference titles8
(5 RMAC, 3 Big Sky)
RivalriesIdaho Vandals (rivalry)
ColorsOrange and Black[2]

The Idaho State Bengals football program represents Idaho State University in college football. The Bengals play their home games at Holt Arena, an indoor facility on campus in Pocatello, Idaho. Idaho State is a charter member of the Big Sky Conference in NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) (formerly Division I-AA). Through the 2018 season, the Bengals have an all-time record of 472-520-20 (.476).[3]


After a winless 0-11 season in 1979, Bud Hake was fired after three years and a 5-28 (.152) record.[4]Dave Kragthorpe was hired as head coach for the 1980 season, and the Bengals went 6-5 in his first year. The following season, ISU won the Division I-AA Championship. Following two playoff victories at home, the Bengals defeated Eastern Kentucky 34-23 in the Pioneer Bowl at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas.[5] The quarterback during the 12-1 championship season was senior Mike Machurek,[5] a junior college transfer from San Diego City College;[6] he was a sixth round selection in the 1982 NFL draft (154th overall). Machurek spent four seasons with the Detroit Lions,[7] and had treatment for skin cancer during the second.[8]

Idaho State returned to the I-AA playoffs in 1983, but lost 27-20 at home in the first round to conference champion Nevada-Reno.[9] The Bengals have not made another playoff appearance, although they were tri-Big Sky champions in 2002, all at 5-2 in conference play (and 1-1 against each other). ISU (8-3) was passed over for the playoffs, however, for Montana (10-2) and Montana State (7-5), the other tri-champs that year.

Following the 2010 season, head coach John Zamberlin was fired after four seasons (6-39, .143) and Mike Kramer was hired as ISU's 25th head football coach. During his first season in 2011 the Bengals won only two games. Kramer was formerly the head coach at Eastern Washington and Montana State.[10] Among his assistants are former University of Alabama football players Todd Bates and Rudy Griffin and former Brigham Young University player Mike Rigell.[11]

On March 30, 2017, Kramer resigned as head coach of the Bengals. The Idaho State Athletic Department promoted offensive coordinator Rob Phenicie to head coach, the same day.[12]

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 for the Big West in 1996 to move up to Division I-A, ISU has played the teams infrequently and Weber State University of nearby Ogden has become ISU's main rival in football. The Bengals also claim a rivalry with the Montana Grizzlies of Missoula, though ISU has only one victory in the last sixteen meetings.[13]

Conference affiliations


National championships

Year Coach Selector Record Opponent Result
1981 Dave Kragthorpe I-AA Playoff 12-1 Eastern Kentucky W 34-23

Conference championships

Idaho State has won 8 conference championships.[]

Year Conference Overall record Conference record
1952 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 8-0 5-0
1953 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 6-2 5-0
1955 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 8-1 5-0
1957 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 9-0 6-0
1959 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference 6-2 4-0
1963 Big Sky Conference 5-3 3-1
1981 Big Sky Conference 12-1 6-1
2002 Big Sky Conference 8-3 5-2

Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs results

The Bengals have appeared in the I-AA/FCS playoffs two times with a record of 3-1. They were National Champions in 1981.

Year Round Opponent Result
1981 Quarterfinals
National Championship Game
Rhode Island
South Carolina State
Eastern Kentucky
W 51-0
W 41-12
W 34-23
1983 First Round Nevada L 20-27


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 I-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. Quarterback Mike Machurek was named the Kodak All-American for his 1981 Championship season. Punter Jon Vanderwielen earned several All-American honors in 2009.[14]

Head coaches

Coach Years Seasons Record Pct.
Herbert Chaney 1902-1903 2 5-1-1 .786
Charles Rowe 1904 1 1-3 .250
Hubert Upjohn 1905-1906 2 3-2-3 .563
John Morris 1907-1908 2 8-5 .615
Harvey Holmes 1909-1914 6 28-10 .737
Reuben Bronson (a) 1915-1916 2 9-5 .643
J.T. Fogt 1917 1 2-2 .500
Reuben Bronson (b) 1919 1 2-2-1 .500
Ralph Hutchinson 1920-1927 8 25-24-2 .510
Felix Plastino 1928-1934 7 34-16-3 .670
Guy Wicks 1935-1940 6 29-17-1 .628
John Vesser 1941-1951 9 41-27-6 .595
Babe Caccia 1952-1965 14 79-38-2 .664
Leo McKillip 1966-1967 2 4-15 .211
Ed Cavanaugh 1968-1971 4 28-19 .596
Bob Griffin 1972-1975 4 21-20 .512
Joe Pascale 1976 1 1-9 .100
Bud Hake 1977-1979 3 5-27 .156
Dave Kragthorpe 1980-1982 3 21-14 .600
Jim Koetter 1983-1987 5 23-32-1 .411
Garth Hall 1988-1991 4 9-33-1 .214
Brian McNeely 1992-1996 5 21-34 .382
Tom Walsh 1997-1998 2 6-16 .261
Larry Lewis 1999-2006 8 40-49 .449
John Zamberlin 2007-2010 4 6-39 .133
Mike Kramer 2011-2016 6 18-50 .265
Rob Phenicie 2017-present 3 13-17 .433

Holt Arena

The Bengals play home games in Holt Arena, an indoor multi-purpose athletic stadium located on the north end of the ISU campus. Completed in September 1970, Holt Arena is the oldest enclosed stadium on a college campus in the United States and the second-oldest overall.[] 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; it 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 [15] is also installed in AT&T 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 (NFL), 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, former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals; Dirk Koetter, the former head coach at Boise State and Arizona State, and Head Coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Gary Andersen, the head coach at Utah State University; 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 to the Idaho 5A state championship game three times in four seasons.


  1. ^ "Staff Directory - Idaho State University". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Primary and secondary colors". Idaho State University Office of Marketing and Communications. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "All-Time Team Won-Lost Records" (PDF). Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ "Idaho State's Hake quits". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 25, 1979. p. C6.
  5. ^ a b "Bengals ride like the wind". Lewiston Morning Tribune Location=Idaho. Associated Press. December 21, 1981. p. 2D.
  6. ^ Missildine, Harry (November 4, 1980). "Bengals won't miss meeting with Vandals". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 21.
  7. ^ "Machurek may be out of a job". Ludington Daily News. Michigan. Associated Press. August 5, 1985. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Machurek almost ready". Argus-Press. Owosso, Michigan. Associated Press. August 9, 1983. p. 10.
  9. ^ "Nevada-Reno downs Idaho State in playoffs". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. November 27, 1983. p. 2B.
  10. ^ "Kramer selected to coach Bengals". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. November 23, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ "Kramer Announces Staff". Idaho State University Athletics. November 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ "Idaho State coach Mike Kramer retires; Rob Phenicie takes over". March 30, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ - ISU vs. Montana - accessed September 22, 2011
  14. ^ "Moore Named First-Team All-American". Idaho State Athletics. December 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  15. ^ - Hellas Construction to Install New Holt Arena Turf - June 2, 2011 - accessed September 22, 2011

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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