Idaho State Bengals

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Idaho State Bengals
University Idaho State University
Conference Big Sky Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Jeff Tingey
Location Pocatello, ID
Varsity teams 13
Football stadium Holt Arena
Basketball arena Holt Arena
Soccer stadium Davis Field
Other arenas Reed Gym (women's basketball, tennis, and volleyball)
Nickname Bengals
     Orange       Black

The Idaho State Bengals are the varsity athletic teams representing Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho in intercollegiate athletics. 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 in NCAA Division I and are currently members of the Big Sky Conference.[1] Their main rivals are Boise State University in Boise, Idaho and the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.


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 hasn't had a season above .500 since the 2003 campaign (8-4) with its best record since then being 5-6 in 2005.

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.[2] Among his assistants are former University of Alabama football players Todd Bates and Rudy Griffin.[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 Division I Basketball 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.

Idaho State University's men's basketball team plays their home games at Holt Arena, which has a seating capacity of 8,000 for basketball games.[4] The most recent appearance of the men's team in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship was in 1987, when it was eliminated 70-95 in the first round by UNLV.[5]

Idaho State University's women's basketball team plays their home games at Reed Gym, which has a seating capacity of 3,040 for basketball games.[6]

Seton Sobolewski head women’s basketball coach Idaho State

The most recent appearance of the women's team in the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship was in 2012, when it was eliminated 41-70 in the first round by the Miami Hurricanes.[7]

Idaho State University still maintains an active rivalry in basketball with both the University of Idaho Vandals and the Boise State University Broncos. In recent years, ISU has dominated UI in basketball, but in turn been dominated by BSU.


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