March 30, 1940 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
Hayward State (DC)
Las Vegas Outlaws
|Head coaching record|
College Football Data Warehouse
|Accomplishments and honors|
1 NCAA Division I National (1980)
2 Big Sky (1977, 1980)
Jim Criner (born March 30, 1940) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Boise State University from 1976 to 1982 and at Iowa State University from 1983 to 1986, compiling a career college football record of 76–46–3. Criner was also the head coach of the NFL Europe's Scottish Claymores from 1995 to 2000, and the short-lived XFL's Las Vegas Outlaws in 2001. Criner's 1980 Boise State team won the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship and his Scottish Claymores squad won World Bowl IV in 1996. Criner was later a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL under head coach Dick Vermeil, whom he assisted at UCLA in the mid-1970s.
Early life and playing career
Criner was born in Lurton, Arkansas, and was a four-sport athlete at Coachella Valley High School in Thermal, California. He attended Palo Verde Junior College where he was a JC All-American at linebacker. He transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he was an All-American at linebacker, and played fullback as well.
High school football and college assistant coaching
He began his career as an assistant to Jim Hanifan at Charter Oak High School (1963), and then head coach at Claremont High School (1964) and then at Clovis High School. He became a college assistant coach in 1967 at Utah, serving two seasons as the offensive line coach. In 1969, he became the defensive coordinator at Cal State Hayward. In 1970 he was the secondary coach at California for two seasons, and in 1972 moved to BYU for a season. In 1973 he became the offensive line coach at UCLA under Pepper Rodgers and continued under Dick Vermeil in 1974; he moved to linebackers coach in 1975, when UCLA won the Pac-8 title and upset top-ranked Ohio State, 23–10, in the Rose Bowl.
Following UCLA's Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State in January 1976, Criner was hired as the head coach at Boise State, replacing Tony Knap, who had departed for UNLV. At the time, Boise State was a strong Division II program in the Big Sky Conference, and had won three consecutive conference titles. The Broncos won the conference title again in 1977, and the conference moved up to the newly formed Division I-AA in 1978. The Broncos went undefeated in conference in 1979, but were ineligible for the Big Sky title or the I-AA playoffs; they had been placed on probation for "coaching irregularities" incurred during the 1978 season. Off of probation in 1980, Boise State won the Big Sky title with a 6–1 conference record, and advanced to the four-team I-AA playoffs, defeating Grambling, 14–9, in the first round in Boise and defending champion Eastern Kentucky, 31–29, in Sacramento for the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship. Boise State again went 6–1 in conference in 1981, and tied for first with Idaho State in the Big Sky. Both co-champions were invited to the expanded eight-team I-AA playoffs. The Broncos defeated Jackson State on the road, but were defeated at home in the semifinals by Eastern Kentucky. Idaho State won the 1981 national title, defeating Eastern Kentucky the following week. In Criner's seven seasons at Boise State, the Broncos were 34–12 (.739) in conference, and 59–21–1 (.735) overall.
Following the 1982 season, Criner became the 27th head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones of the Big Eight Conference. He held that position for four seasons, from 1983 until 1986. His career coaching record at Iowa State was 9–17–2 (.357) in conference and 17–25–2 (.409) overall, ranking him 14th at ISU in total wins and 19th in winning percentage. He was fired from this position in 1986,  when the school announced the organization had made 34 allegations of wrongdoing in the football program. Allegations included coaches giving players cash as well as giving recruits rides and meals.
Amiens Spartans, France
2012 1st Division Champion with the Amiens Spartans, France
Head coaching record
|Boise State Broncos (Big Sky Conference) (1976–1982)|
|1980||Boise State||10–3||6–1||1st||W NCAA Division I-AA Championship|
|1981||Boise State||10–3||6–1||T–1st||L NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal|
|Iowa State Cyclones (Big Eight Conference) (1983–1986)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|