|Born||May 1, 1933|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1969||South Dakota State|
|1991||New Mexico (OL)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
|Tournaments||3–0 (NCAA D-I-AA playoffs)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 Division I-AA National (1981)
1 Big Sky (1981)
|Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1989)|
Dave Kragthorpe (born May 1, 1933) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at South Dakota State University in 1969, at Idaho State University from 1980 to 1982, and at Oregon State University from 1985 to 1990, compiling a career college football record of 41–69–2.
Kragthorpe attended Utah State University where he excelled as a two-way tackle for the Aggies from 1951 to 1954. In addition, he was also on the baseball team. Despite all his athletic obligations, Kragthorpe graduated with double bachelor's degrees in physical education and recreation education in 1955. A short time later, he returned to Utah State and earned his master's degree in secondary education.
Kragthorpe spent one season as the head coach at South Dakota State University in 1969. In that season, he posted a 3–7 record. From there, Dave served as offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at Brigham Young University, under LaVell Edwards. The Cougars were one of the first programs committed to throwing the football in the 1970s, a time when "three yards and a cloud of dust" was still the dominant sentiment in college football.
After going 0–11 in 1979, Idaho State athletic director, I. J. Babe Caccia, decided to try to import some of the passing magic from nearby Provo, Utah. He hired Kragthorpe as his head coach, and the Bengals improved to 6–5 in 1980 and came within nine points of eventual national champion Boise State in the season finale.
The best results were definitely in his second season in 1981, when the Bengals won the Big Sky Conference title and the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship and were a 12–1 overall. They were led by senior quarterback Mike Machurek, who went on to become a reserve player with the Detroit Lions. During the 1981 season, Idaho State outscored its opponents 422–172. The following year, the Bengals fell to 3–8; Kragthorpe was 21–14 in three seasons at ISU, from 1980 to 1982.
After the 1982 season, Kragthorpe stepped away from the sidelines to take over as athletics director at Utah State University in Logan. After two years in this capacity, he returned to coaching in 1985.
In 1985, Kragthorpe was named the head coach at Oregon State University in Corvallis and implemented a pass-oriented offense, penned the "Air Express." This offense did not correlate to much success in the Pacific-10 Conference, as Kragthorpe failed to have a winning record in any of his six seasons with Oregon State, compiling an overall record of 17–48–2. In recognition of how difficult the Oregon State job was perceived to be in those days, Kragthorpe won the Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1989, despite having a losing record that year with the Beavers.
1985 Oregon State vs. Washington
Despite Kragthorpe's record at Oregon State, he will be forever linked to one of the greatest wins in Oregon State history. In his first season under the helm at Oregon State, Kragthorpe took his Beavers in to Husky Stadium in Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies as 38-point underdogs. After sixty minutes of play, and a blocked punt with 1:29 left to go in the game that was recovered for a Beaver touchdown, Oregon State pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college football history, winning 21–20.
Kragthorpe's "coaching tree" includes both Jim and Brent Koetter, multiple state championship winning coaches at Pocatello and Highland High School in Pocatello; Marvin Lewis, who played and coached under Kragthorpe at ISU, now head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals; and Mike Shepherd, receivers and quarterbacks coach under Kragthorpe at Idaho State; who has had a long career as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in the National Football League.
Assistant coaches under Kragthorpe who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:
- Brady Hoke: Ball State (2003–2008), San Diego State (2009–2010), Michigan (2011–2014)
- Marvin Lewis: Cincinnati Bengals (2003–present)
In 1994, Kragthorpe was hired by the USU Alumni Association to resurrect the university's alumni chapters program. Despite officially retiring in 2001, Kragthorpe can still be found at his desk in the Alumni Office, overseeing the USU alumni chapters in Idaho and northern Nevada.
Kragthorpe is a huge supporter of USU and Aggie athletics. He is a member of the Old Main Society, Alumni Sustaining Membership program, Big Blue Club, and the Emeriti Association. In 2005, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. His love of sports continues to live on in his children also. His son, Kurt, is a sports writer for the Salt Lake Tribune. Another son, Steve Kragthorpe, was the head football coach at the University of Louisville from 2007 to 2009, but was fired in November 2009. He is currently the quarterbacks coach at LSU.
Head coaching record
|South Dakota State Jackrabbits (North Central Conference) (1969)|
|1969||South Dakota State||3–7||3–3||3rd|
|South Dakota State:||3–7||3–3|
|Idaho State Bengals (Big Sky Conference) (1980–1982)|
|Oregon State Beavers (Pacific-10 Conference) (1985–1990)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|