Idaho State Bengals

The Idaho State Bengals are the varsity intercollegiate athletic teams representing Idaho State University, located in Pocatello, Idaho. The university sponsors thirteen teams including men and women's basketball, cross country, tennis, and track and field; women's-only golf, soccer, softball, and volleyball; and men's-only football. The Bengals compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level (Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) for college football) and are currently a member institution of the Big Sky Conference.[2] The Bengals' in-state athletic rivals are the Boise State University Broncos (located in Boise) and the University of Idaho Vandals (located in Moscow).

Idaho State Bengals
UniversityIdaho State University
ConferenceBig Sky Conference
NCAADivision I/FCS
Athletic directorPauline Thiros
LocationPocatello, Idaho
Varsity teams13
Football stadiumHolt Arena
Basketball arenaHolt Arena
Soccer stadiumDavis Field
Other arenasReed Gym
(women's basketball,
tennis, and volleyball)
MascotBenny the Bengal
ColorsOrange and Black[1]


Men's Women's
Basketball Basketball
Cross Country Cross Country
Football Golf
Tennis Soccer
Track and Field Softball
Track & Field


In the 2009 campaign, Bengal football boasted a one win record, which wasn't an improvement over the 2008 campaign. Bengal football's last winning season was the 2014 campaign when they posted a record of 8-4. Previously they had not had a season above .500 since the 2003 campaign (8-4).

In October 2009 Idaho State University Director of Athletics Jeff Tingey announced that the contract of head football coach John Zamberlin would be extended for two more years, meaning Zamberin will be on the Bengal sidelines manning the program through the 2011 season.

Hired in late December 2006, Zamberlin's record at ISU is just 4-25. The decision has been highly criticized by many students, faculty, and community members. The administration have stood by their decision, citing an increase in athlete attendance in classes and graduation rates as a direct result of Zamberlin's coaching.

In 2010, the Bengals went 1-10 overall and 0-8 in the Big Sky Conference. Zamberlin was fired and former Eastern Washington and Montana State coach, Mike Kramer, was hired.[3]

Idaho State used to enjoy healthy rivalries with both the University of Idaho and Boise State University when all three schools were members of the Big Sky Conference. When both Idaho and BSU left the Big Sky in 1996 to move up to Division I-A, Idaho State University lost their main rivals. Both Idaho and BSU still occasionally play Idaho State in football, however since 1996, both Idaho and BSU's dominance over Idaho State has solidified. Despite this, many students at both the University of Idaho and at Idaho State University would like to see this rivalry renewed into an annual event.

Since 1996, an old rivalry with the Weber State University Wildcats of nearby Ogden, Utah has intensified to become ISU's main rival in football. The Bengals also enjoy intense rivalries with both the University of Montana Grizzlies, and Montana State University Bobcats.


In March 1977, the men's basketball team made national headlines by defeating the UCLA Bruins 76-75 in the West regional semifinal of that year's NCAA tournament. The win qualified the Bengals for their only appearance to date in the Elite Eight. This is by far the high-water mark for Bengals basketball, and marked the first time since 1966 that UCLA failed to reach the Final Four. The Bengals were subsequently eliminated in the West regional final by the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

The men's basketball team plays their home games at Holt Arena, with a seating capacity of 8,000 for basketball.[4] Their most recent appearance in the NCAA tournament was in 1987, when ISU was eliminated 70-95 in the first round by top-ranked UNLV.[5]

Women's basketball

ISU's women's basketball team plays their home games at Reed Gym, which has a seating capacity of 3,040 for basketball.[6] The most recent appearance of the women's team in the NCAA tournament was in 2012, when it was eliminated 41-70 in the first round by the Miami Hurricanes.[7] The women's program maintained an active rivalry in basketball with both Idaho and Boise State. In recent years, ISU has dominated UI, but in turn been dominated by BSU.

Former sports


The baseball program at ISU was discontinued 45 years ago after the 1974 season,[8] following the Big Sky's decision to drop baseball and four other sports.[9][10][11] The Bengals won the southern division in their final season,[12] and met north champion Gonzaga in the best-of-three championship series in Pocatello. The underdog Bengals won the first game 6-4,[13] but then lost a doubleheader delayed by snow,[14] 14–3 and 13–0.[8][15][16][17] Boise State and Idaho dropped their baseball programs six years later in 1980, citing budget constraints.[18][19]


Idaho State won 8 Big Sky titles (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1984) in wrestling, starting with its first in 1967;[20][21] the sport was dropped by the conference 32 years ago, after the 1987 season.[22]


  1. "Primary and secondary colors". Idaho State University Office of Marketing and Communications. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  2. "Member Institutions". Big Sky Conference. June 9, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  3. Former Bobcats Coach Mike Kramer Named ISU Head Coach KTVM
  4. Idaho State Athletics - Holt Arena
  5. "1987 NCAA Basketball Tournament". Archived from the original on February 26, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2008.
  6. Idaho State Athletics - Reed Gym
  7. - Women's Basketball News - Miami (Fla.) blasts Idaho State
  8. "Idaho (State) drops baseball". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). UPI. June 5, 1974. p. 9.
  9. "Big Sky drops five sports". Ellensburg Daily Record. (Washington). UPI. May 15, 1974. p. 11.
  10. "Idaho off probation, loop titles dwindle". Lewiston Morning Tribune. May 15, 1974. p. 13.
  11. Emerson, Paul (May 29, 1974). "Baseball axed in Big Sky". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 15.
  12. "Title play set". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). May 13, 1974. p. 15.
  13. "Rain postpones Big Sky series". Spokane Daily Chronicle. (Washington). May 20, 1974. p. 13.
  14. "Gonzaga-ISU 'snowed out'". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). May 21, 1974. p. 14.
  15. "Gonzaga in sweep for Big Sky title". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). May 22, 1974. p. 14.
  16. "N. Colorado club next for Gonzaga". Spokane Daily Chronicle. May 22, 1974. p. 17.
  17. "Past Baseball Champions". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  18. "Boise State drops baseball program". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. May 6, 1980. p. C1.
  19. Goodwin, Dale (May 13, 1980). "Baseball's 'out' at Idaho". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 19.
  20. "Idaho State wins first mat crown". Spokesman-Review. February 27, 1967. p. 8.
  21. "Idaho State wins Big Sky mat title". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. February 28, 1971. p. 14.
  22. "Past Wrestling Champions". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
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