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Dave Kragthorpe


Dave Kragthorpe

Dave Kragthorpe
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1933-05-01) May 1, 1933
Playing career
1951–1954 Utah State
Position(s) Tackle
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1969 South Dakota State
1970–1975 BYU (OC/OL)
1976–1979 BYU (OL)
1980–1982 Idaho State
1985–1990 Oregon State
1991 New Mexico (OL)
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1983–1985 Utah State
Head coaching record
Overall 41–69–2
Tournaments 3–0 (NCAA D-I-AA playoffs)
College Football Data Warehouse
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.


  • Early life 1
  • Coaching career 2
    • 1985 Oregon State vs. Washington 2.1
  • Coaching tree 3
  • Later life 4

Early life

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.

Coaching career

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 immediately improved to 6–5 his first season, 1980, coming within a final game loss to eventual national champion Boise State from winning a share of the Big Sky Conference championship and going to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

Kragthorpe recorded a 21–14 record in three seasons, from 1980 to 1982. The best results were definitely in his second season, a 12–1 season in 1981, when the Bengals won the Big Sky Conference title and the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship behind 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.

In the 1983, Kragthorpe stepped away from the sidelines to take over as athletics director at Utah State University. After two years in this capacity, he returned to coaching in 1985.

In 1985, Kragthorpe was named the head coach at Oregon State. He implemented a pass-oriented offense, penned the "Air Express" in Corvallis. 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 if the greatest wins in Oregon State history. In his first season under the helm at OSU, Kragthorpe took his team in to Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington to take on the Washington Huskies. The Beavers entered the game 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, 21–20.

Coaching tree

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.

Later life

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

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