In the 1990 season, the Idaho State Bengals men’s basketball team won the Big Sky Conference championship. Led by head coach Herb Williams and star player Lawrence Butler, the team finished the season with a 25-5 overall record and a perfect 16-0 conference record. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament but lost in the first round to the University of ...
In 1991, the Idaho State Bengals women’s basketball team won the Big Sky Conference championship. This was the first conference championship for the women’s basketball program at Idaho State. The team went on to participate in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the first round to the University of Texas. The team was led by head coach Julie Holt, ...
In 2016, the Idaho State Bengals football team had an impressive season, finishing with an overall record of 8-4 and a 6-2 conference record, which was good enough for a share of the Big Sky Conference championship. This was the first time the Bengals had won a conference championship since 2002. Led by head coach Mike Kramer, the team had ...
History of the Bengals
The Idaho State Bengals have a long and storied history in NCAA sports. From the 1940s to today, the Bengals have been a fixture in college athletics, competing at the highest levels of competition. The team has had numerous successes as an NCAA member school, including several conference championships and multiple appearances in bowl games. In addition to these accomplishments on the field of play, Idaho State has produced some of college football’s greatest players, such as Hall-of-Famers Merlin Olsen and Steve Young.
The early years for Idaho State saw them compete primarily at lower division levels before joining Division I (now FBS) during the 1970's decade when they joined what is now known as Big Sky Conference, where they remain members. During this period, the Bengals enjoyed moderate success with few notable wins, like their win against Utah state aggies, considered one of the most significant upset victories ever recorded by any big sky team. They followed it up with another great season the next year but failed to make it past the first-round playoffs due lack of experience. This led them into dark ages from the late 70s until mid 80's when ISU could not manage even a single winning season despite having a good roster talent-wise.
It wasn't until 1986 that things started turning around for ISU when legendary head coach Larry Smith took charge and brought instant success after leading his team into its first-ever postseason appearance since 1973, along with winning two consecutive conference titles back-to-back during 1987 & 1988 seasons, respectively, cementing his legacy forever among Bengal fans all across the USA.
Since then, there has been no looking back for this proud program which continues its pursuit towards national glory under current head coach Rob Phenicie who recently led his side into yet another post-season last year, making it the third straight bowl game appearance since the 2013 era began proving once again why he is regarded so highly amongst other coaches within big sky community.
From humble beginnings nearly eight decades ago to becoming one of the most competitive teams within the FCS level today, Idaho State Bengals are living examples of how hard work pays off eventually if you stick together through thick & thin!
College Sports Established
Idaho State University
1973 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1921 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1901 - 1921 / Athletic Association of the United States
1963 – Present / Big Sky Conference
1948 - 1958 / Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference
1901 - 1947 / Independent
Bengals - The Idaho State Bengals have a long and storied history of success in the NCAA. But what many may not know is that their nickname has an interesting origin story.
The name “Bengals” was chosen by the school’s first athletic director, Dr. Robert Fife, who wanted to honor his alma mater—the University of Cincinnati—by using its mascot to inspire Idaho State's new moniker. He thought it would be a great way to pay homage to his former school while also giving ISU something unique and memorable at the same time!
Dr. Fife chose this particular animal because he believed it symbolized strength, courage, and ferocity. These qualities he hoped would characterize ISU athletics into their future endeavors on the playing field or court! The Bengal tiger is native only to India but can still be seen throughout Asia today - which makes sense given how far-reaching Dr.'s vision was for ISU sports teams when selecting this name back in 1931!
As such, if you are ever cheering on your favorite team from Idaho State University – whether they are playing football or basketball – remember that behind every roar, there lies a deep connection between two universities separated by thousands of miles: one rooted firmly in Ohio soil while another proudly stands atop Pocatello hillsides with prideful spirit blazing each day brightly anew!
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
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