Idaho Professional Sports, League, College and High School Sports
Central Idaho is home to one of North America's oldest ski resorts, Sun Valley, where the world's first chairlift was installed in 1936. Other noted outdoor sites include Hells Canyon, the Salmon River, and its embarkation point of Riggins.
The Idaho State University Bengals compete in the NCAA Division I (I-AA for football) Big Sky Conference. ISU won the NCAA Division I-AA national championship in football in 1981. It also won NCAA national championships in boxing as Idaho State College in 1953 and 1957.
In more recent years ISU has been competitive in track and field winning the Big Sky Conference Indoor title in 2005 and 2006. The women's track and field team won their first outdoors women's Big Sky conference in 2007 with a score of 140.5 over Weber State. Dave Nielson was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year in Women's track and field and was later named the Mountain Region's Outdoor Women's coach of the year.
Home football games are played at the 12,000-seat Holt Arena (known as the Minidome until 1988), the oldest enclosed stadium on a college campus in the United States. Holt Arena also hosts indoor track and field events. After several seasons of playing at cozy Reed Gym (capacity: 2500), the men's basketball team will again play its home games inside Holt Arena.
For years the Bengals enjoyed athletic rivalries with the Boise State Broncos and the University of Idaho Vandals. However, as far as football is concerned, these rivalries diminished significantly after both BSU and UI left the Big Sky in 1996 to move up to Division I-A. The Bengals still enjoy a healthy rivalry in basketball with both the University of Idaho, who they have dominated in recent years, and Boise State, who has dominated ISU in recent years. With the diminishment of the rivalries with both U of I and BSU in football, the Weber State Wildcats of nearby Ogden, Utah, Montana State Bobcats, and the Montana Grizzlies have become ISU's main football rivals.
In 2008, Athletic Director Paul Bubb resigned after University officials discovered a long-standing $800,000 shortfall in the Athletic Department budget. The men's golf team was eliminated as a money saving measure although it was one of the least expensive teams that ISU fields.
Idaho State University is looking into starting a swimming team. The swim team is in progress.
In the 2009 campaign, Bengal football boasts a one win record, which isn'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 of 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 of 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.
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.
The Bengals men's basketball team's last appearance in the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament was in 1987, when it was eliminated in the first round by UNLV. The most recent appearance of the women's team in the NCAA tournament was 2007, when it was eliminated in the first round by the Stanford Cardinal.
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.
High School Sports
Shop for all Idaho Sports Fan Gear