POCATELLO, Idaho — Former Montana State and Eastern Washington football coach Mike Kramer is making his third stop in the Big Sky Conference
Kramer was named the 25th head coach at Idaho State, athletic director Jeff Tingey announced Monday.
"We are excited to have Mike Kramer join our athletic department," Tingey said. "He is one of the most successful coaches in Big Sky football history. He has proven himself on the field of competition and he is a coach who is very charismatic. Coach Kramer is a coach who will come in and develop instant relationships in the Pocatello community."
Kramer takes over for John Zamberlin, who was fired last week after four seasons. ISU finished its 2010 season with a 1-10 mark. Its only win was over Montana Western, an NAIA team that also posted a 1-10 record.
During a press conference announcing his hiring, Kramer promised an upbeat, fast-paced offense, a dominating defense and a high graduation rate.
Kramer coached at Eastern Washington from 1994-1999 and at Montana State from 2000-2006. He led EWU to its first-ever Big Sky football title in 1997, while MSU shared the crown in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
Kramer has a 77-75 career record, including a 40-43 mark at MSU. The Bobcats posted a 40-32 record over six seasons after an 0-11 showing in 2000.
He has been out of coaching for the past four seasons after being fired by Montana State in the spring of 2007, just days after former Bobcat wide receiver Rick Gatewood was arrested for selling drugs. Gatewood was the fifth then-current or former MSU football player arrested within a year's time. Gatewood later acknowledged using athletic scholarship money to traffic cocaine.
Kramer filed a lawsuit against MSU in December 2007 alleging that school officials fired him under the "without cause" clause in his contract and then issued a press release and made public comments about the firing without giving him a chance to appeal the decision.
In addition to criminal issues, MSU President Geoff Gamble said the school had lost three football scholarships for failing to meet NCAA academic requirements.
The case was settled for $240,000 in August, with neither side admitting fault. Kramer said he settled the case because it was hindering his ability to get a coaching job, while an attorney for MSU said the school made a business decision to settle.
This season, Kramer is a football operations assistant at Washington State.
Kramer is a native of Colton, Wash., and played football at the University of Idaho, where he graduated in 1977. He coached high school football before being named an assistant at Montana State in 1983. He was an assistant on MSU's 1984 national championship team and was named defensive coordinator in 1985. Following the 1986 season, he returned to the high school ranks before being named an assistant coach at EWU in 1989.
He and his wife, Sandi, have two daughters, Courtney and Gretchen.