It's no secret that a change was needed for the Idaho State Bengals. Over the last five seasons under former head coach Rob Phenicle ISU went 16-35 and failed to post a winning season. In fact, the Bengals have not had a winning year since 2018 and have not won a conference title since 2002. A new day has begun in Pocatello, however, with the hiring of Charlie Ragle.
Ragle was formally introduced as Idaho State's 27th head coach in school history on Friday. He comes over with a Pac 12 pedigree, having served as Cal's special teams coordinator over the past five years. Before that he held a similar position with Arizona. This will be his collegiate first head coaching position.
For ISU it was the first football coaching hire made by athletic director Pauline Thiros. "The kids asked me and you all have asked me to find a winner, somebody who knows how to win,” Thiros told a room of boosters and supporters this week. “Well, Charlie, he knows how to win.”
Ragle is looking to snap a streak of eight consecutive Idaho State coaches that have failed to leave the program with a winning record. It wasn't since Dave Kragthorpe in the 1980s that the Bengals have seen consistent, winning football. Kragthorpe, who led the program to its only national title in 1981, was in attendance for Ragle's introduction on Friday.
"You win with people and I believe the right people are in place with our president and AD that are going to give myself and the staff and the players the opportunity to win," said Ragle. And the university clearly believes he is the man for the job. Ragle will be compensated with an annual salary of over $200,000, nearly $40,000 more than Phenicle made.
For Ragle, though, there's only one goal right now. "When you watch us play, you will see a team that is smart and tough. You will see a team that won’t beat itself. You will see a team that plays with a passion so infectious, you can’t help but get behind us," he said. "As I told our players a short time ago, today is a new day in ISU football. The past is just that. It’s not about where you’ve been but it’s about where we’re going as a program and a university.”
Both Ragle and Thiros also spoke on planned upgrades to facilities at the university including renovations to Holt Arena where the Bengals play their home games. The all-important first offseason is underway in the newly-minted Ragle era. The next steps are filling out a full coaching staff and recruiting. ISU will begin their 2022 campaign next September at UNLV.