1982 Idaho Vandals football
Idaho Vandals logo.svg
ConferenceBig Sky Conference
APNo. 11
Record9–4 (5–2 Big Sky)
Head coach
Offensive coordinatorKeith Gilbertson
(1st season)
Defensive coordinatorJohn L. Smith (1st season)
Home stadiumKibbie Dome
← 1981
1983 →
1982 Big Sky Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
No. 19 Montana $^ 5 2 0 6 6 0
No. 11 Idaho ^ 5 2 0 9 4 0
Montana State 5 2 0 6 5 0
No. 15 Boise State 4 3 0 8 3 0
Nevada 3 4 0 6 5 0
Northern Arizona 3 4 0 4 7 0
Weber State 2 5 0 4 7 0
Idaho State 1 6 0 3 8 0
  • $ – Conference champion
  • ^ – NCAA Division I-AA playoff participant
Rankings from NCAA Division I-AA Poll

The 1982 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 1982 NCAA Division I-AA football season. The Vandals, led by first-year head coach Dennis Erickson,[3] were members of the Big Sky Conference and played their home games at the Kibbie Dome, an indoor facility on campus in Moscow, Idaho.

Led by junior quarterback Ken Hobart, the Vandals finished 8–3 in the regular season and 5–2 in the Big Sky in a three-way tie for first, and qualified for the post-season for the first time in school history. Idaho defeated rival Boise State for the first time in six years,[4][5] the first of twelve straight over the Broncos. The Vandals also defeated Idaho State, the defending conference and national champions; the consecutive intrastate games were both on the road.[6][7]

Idaho rebounded from the previous season, in which they were preseason favorites, but finished 3–8 overall and winless in conference play under fourth-year head coach Jerry Davitch. The 1981 team lost their final six games, finishing with a fifth consecutive loss to Boise State.

The Vandals won all six home games in 1982 and finished at 9–4 overall. The nine victories were the most in school history,[8] later surpassed only by the 1988 and 1993 teams, both of which won eleven games and reached the I-AA semifinals.[9]

Division I-AA playoffs

After recent Big Sky domination by Boise State, Idaho State, and Nevada, the 1982 season finished with three other teams at the top at 5–2; Idaho, Montana, and Montana State. After Idaho finished the regular season with a conference loss at Reno,[10][11] Montana was declared the conference champion as it defeated the other two. (Montana State was the odd team out, as the Bobcats lost to both Montana and Idaho.) Montana and Idaho were both selected for the first time to participate in the Division I-AA playoffs, newly expanded to twelve teams for the fifth season of I-AA.

Although the Grizzlies (6–5, 5–2) were the conference champions due to their 40–16 win over Idaho in Missoula in mid-October,[12] the Vandals were chosen by the NCAA to host the late November game, primarily due to their indoor stadium.[13][14][15][16][17] Idaho won the rematch 21–7, played before a sparse afternoon crowd in Moscow two days after Thanksgiving, and advanced to the quarterfinals on the road against eventual champion Eastern Kentucky.[18][19]

EKU was a I-AA finalist the previous three seasons; they won the title in 1979, but lost to Big Sky champions Boise State in 1980 and Idaho State in 1981. Down by a large margin early, Idaho mounted a comeback and nearly became the third team from the state to defeat EKU in the playoffs in as many years. The Vandals were well into EKU territory with 31 seconds remaining, but came up 8 points short after a controversial interception.[20][21]

Notable players

Linebacker Sam Merriman from Tucson[22] was selected in the seventh round (177th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.[23] A four-year starter for the Vandals, he played five seasons with Seattle, primarily on special teams.[24][25][26] A serious knee injury in a 1988 preseason game ended his playing career.[27][28][29] Junior quarterback Ken Hobart led the Vandals to an 8–3 record as a senior in 1983, then played a season in the USFL with Jacksonville in 1984 and several in the CFL.[30]


The 1982 season was the first as a collegiate head coach for Dennis Erickson, age 35, who was previously the offensive coordinator at San Jose State under Jack Elway.[31] He had coached in Moscow in 1974 and 1975, as offensive coordinator under Ed Troxel. Both of Erickson's coordinators for the 1982 Vandals were future head coaches at Idaho and other programs. Keith Gilbertson left after the 1982 season for Los Angeles of the new USFL, returned to Idaho in 1985, and was promoted after the season when Erickson left for Wyoming.

Defensive coordinator John L. Smith followed Erickson to Wyoming in 1986 and Washington State in 1987. Smith returned to the Vandals in January 1989 to succeed Gilbertson, who had left a month before to coach the offensive line for the Washington Huskies under Don James. Erickson left WSU for Miami in early March. Alumnus Chris Tormey was the Vandals' defensive line coach in 1982 and 1983; he left for Washington, then returned in 1995 as head coach for five seasons.


September 116:30 pmvs. Washington State (Div. I-A)*L 14–3425,321[32][33]
September 187:30 pmPacific (CA) (Div. I-A)*W 36–1710,500[36][37][38]
September 257:30 pmPortland State (Div. II)*
  • Kibbie Dome
  • Moscow, ID
W 56–011,000[39]
October 21:30 pmWeber Statedagger
  • Kibbie Dome
  • Moscow, ID
W 35–3415,000
October 911:30 amat Northern Iowa*No. 15W 38–1311,438
October 161:00 pmat MontanaNo. 14L 16–4011,033[12][40]
October 237:30 pmNo. 13 Montana State
  • Kibbie Dome
  • Moscow, ID
W 36–2013,000[41][42]
October 306:00 pmat Boise StateNo. 17W 24–1721,415[4][5]
November 66:30 pmat Idaho StateNo. 14W 20–1711,010[6][7]
November 137:30 pmNorthern ArizonaNo. 10
  • Kibbie Dome
  • Moscow, ID
W 55–3713,000[43][44][45]
November 201:00 pmat NevadaNo. 9L 16–25  7,333[10][11]
November 271:30 pmNo. 19 MontanaNo. 11
W 21–7  8,000[13][14][15]
December 45:12 pmat No. 1 Eastern Kentucky*No. 11
WTBSL 30–3810,893[19][20][21]


1982 Idaho Vandals football team roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Name Class
QB 9 Ken Hobart (C) Jr
QB 10 Scott Linehan Fr
QB 11 Sean Knudsen Jr
TE 12 Scott Auker Fr
RB 34 Kerry Hickey Jr
RB 35 Wally Jones Sr
RB 45 Tim Payne Sr
G 55 Lance West So
C 60 Shawn Jackson Jr
G 62 Steve Seman 
OT 63 Dave Frohnen Sr
OT 76 Greg Diehl Jr
G 77 Dave Thorsen Sr
TE 87 Kurt Vestman Jr
WR 88 Vic Wallace Sr
WR 89 Ron Whittenburg Jr
Pos. # Name Class
FS 1 Paul Pitre So
FS, CB 2 Calvin Loveall So
CB Myron Bishop Jr
OLB 33 John Crout Jr
CB 36 Dean Davis Sr
SS 42 Boyce Bailey Jr
RDT 44 Frank Moreno Jr
ILB 47 Darby Lewis Jr
ILB 52 Sam Merriman (C) Sr
RDT 53 Jay Wolf 
NG 69 Charlie Coffin 
DT Jerry Nelson 
LDT 78 Kevin Auxier Sr
NG 79 Paul Griffin Sr
OLB 85 John Fortner Sr
OLB 90 Lloyd Williamson Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
K 3 Tim McMonigle So
P Pat Ball Fr
KR,PR 88 Vic Wallace Sr
KR,PR 2 Calvin Loveall So
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches

  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  • Injured
  • Redshirt


Quarterback Ken Hobart, tight end Kurt Vestman, wide receiver Vic Wallace, and linebacker Sam Merriman were named to the Big Sky all-conference team;[49] Hobart was the league's outstanding offensive player (and repeated in 1983).[50] Vandals named to the second team were wide receiver Ron Whittenburg, nose guard Paul Griffin, linebacker John Fortner, and safety Boyce Bailey.[49]

NFL Draft

One Vandal senior was selected in the 1983 NFL Draft, which lasted twelve rounds (335 selections).

Player Position Round Overall Franchise
Sam Merriman LB 7th 177 Seattle Seahawks


  1. ^ "Merriman, Seman, Hobart Vandal captains". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). August 31, 1982. p. 3C.
  2. ^ "Idaho tabs captains, coach lauds players". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). September 1, 1982. p. 16.
  3. ^ Van Sickel, Charlie (March 27, 1982). "Idaho to head 'em off at pass". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 12.
  4. ^ a b c Ramsdell, Paul (October 30, 1982). "Vandals' destiny lies in outcome of BSU game". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 3B.
  5. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (October 31, 1982). "Vandals end drought with 24–17 win over BSU". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  6. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 6, 1982). "Vandals: Idaho championship can be theirs today". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 3B.
  7. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 7, 1982). "Idaho escapes with 20-17 win over Bengals". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  8. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (December 12, 1982). "Dennis Erickson put Idaho on the road to success – and he plans more". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  9. ^ CFB Data Warehouse Archived 2010-02-16 at the Wayback Machine – Idaho – yearly totals
  10. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 20, 1982). "The one for all the marbles may be the toughest one yet". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  11. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 21, 1982). "Wolf Pack bumps off Idaho, 25-16". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  12. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (October 17, 1982). "Idaho goes dull, loses at Montana". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  13. ^ a b Missildine, Harry (November 22, 1982). "Surprise! Vandal gridders headed for playoffs". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  14. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 22, 1982). "Vandals' cloud develops a silver lining with Division I-AA berth". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  15. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 23, 1982). "Vandals' joy brings ire elsewhere". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  16. ^ a b Missildine, Harry (November 27, 1982). "Vandals and Grizzlies deserve each other". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 19.
  17. ^ a b c Ramsdell, Paul (November 27, 1982). "Both Idaho and Montana want a shot at No. 1". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. C1.
  18. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 28, 1982). "Case for the defense: Idaho 21-7". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. B1.
  19. ^ a b c Ramsdell, Paul (December 4, 1982). "Vandals in the playoffs". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. B1.
  20. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (December 5, 1982). "Controversial EKU interception ends Idaho hopes". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  21. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (December 6, 1982). "An unsavory end to a successful season". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  22. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 27, 1982). "Lucky Sam Merriman". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  23. ^ a b "Seahawks grab UI's Merriman; LA Rams select WSU's Casper". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). April 27, 1983. p. C3.
  24. ^ "Sam Merriman". Database Football. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  25. ^ Weaver, Dan (July 18, 1984). "Low in the draft, high on the team". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 15.
  26. ^ Jacobson, Bryan (December 20, 1986). "Like riding a bike". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 25.
  27. ^ "Seahawks lose Merriman for year". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. August 13, 1988. p. B1.
  28. ^ Pierce, Oliver (September 14, 1988). "Merriman isn't merry on sidelines". Idahonian. (Moscow). p. 9A.
  29. ^ "Seahawks cut Merriman, two others". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. April 18, 1989. p. C3.
  30. ^ Wright, Josh (October 6, 2009). "Ken Hobart – A family man now". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  31. ^ "Erickson fills four vacancies". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 17, 1981. p. 1B.
  32. ^ Devlin, Vince (September 11, 1982). "'Battle of Palouse' returns". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 17.
  33. ^ Barrows, Bob (September 11, 1982). "The Battle of the Palouse". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  34. ^ Devlin, Vince (September 12, 1982). "Cougs rule the Palouse". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. C1.
  35. ^ Barrows, Bob (September 12, 1982). "WSU's Matthews snaps record (and Idaho) 34-14". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1D.
  36. ^ Missildine, Harry (September 18, 1982). "Tigers, Vandals prepare for aerial fireworks". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 15.
  37. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (September 18, 1982). "Pacific won't be surprised by aerial attack". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  38. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (September 19, 1982). "Idaho tramples Pacific for season's first victory, 36-17". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  39. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (September 26, 1982). "Vandals blow out PSU in 56-0 laugher". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  40. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (October 16, 1982). "High-flying Idaho to take on growling Grizzlies". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 3C.
  41. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (October 23, 1982). "Idaho vs. MSU: Vandals hope Bobcats don't run through them". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  42. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (October 24, 1982). "Vandals pop Bobcats' league-leading bubble". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  43. ^ a b Missildine, Harry (November 13, 1982). "Vandals face biggest battle". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 17.
  44. ^ a b Ramsdell, Paul (November 13, 1982). "Vandals have a shot at Big Sky title tonight". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1C.
  45. ^ Ramsdell, Paul (November 14, 1982). "Vandals overcome Axers in a wild one, 55-37". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  46. ^ "Starting line-ups". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). September 11, 1982. p. 3C.
  47. ^ "Probable starters". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). November 27, 1982. p. 19.
  48. ^ Missildine, Harry (November 25, 1982). "Idaho's defense led by 'survivors'". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 34.
  49. ^ a b "All-Big Sky". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 2, 1982. p. 1B.
  50. ^ "Hobart grabs conference's top honor". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). December 3, 1983. p. 1B.