John Zamberlin Named the 24th Head Football Coach in Idaho State History

Dec. 15, 2006

Pocatello, ID --- In a search that literally spanned from A to Z, Director of Athletics Paul A. Bubb named John Zamberlin of Central Washington University as the 24th head football coach in Idaho State's rich football history. The announcement was made in the Little Wood River Room of the Pond Student Union Building on Friday morning. Zamberlin replaces Larry Lewis, who had his contract terminated after the program won 10 games over the past three years, and went just 2-9 last season.

"I'm just really pleased and excited to have been chosen for this positon," said Zamberlin. "I look forward to getting to work, evaluting our recruiting and the players that we have. I'm excited to be here and looking forward to getting to work."

The only current head coach among the six candidates brought to campus for formal interviews, Zamberlin has served as the head coach of the Central Washington University Wildcats since 1997 with unprecedented success, including a couple of wins over Big Sky Conference schools. Most recently, the Wildcats went 6-5 in 2006, including a 21-14 win over Big Sky member Eastern Washington, outscoring the Eagles 15-0 in the second half in Cheney.

"Coach Zamberlin brings a solid head coaching record to Idaho State University as well as experience at other NCAA Football Championship division programs, including Eastern Washington, University of Richmond, and UMass," said Athletic Director Paul Bubb. "His experience both coaching in and against the Big Sky as well as in the Atlantic 10 Conference represents, in my opinion, experience in two of the dominant leagues in our division."

Bubb added, "There was no doubt from any of the groups which Coach Zamberlin interviewed with that he would be a great choice to lead our program."

The list of accomplishments is long for Zamberlin, as he has a career coaching record of 63-41, including a 38-16 mark over the past five years. Central Washington won back-to-back Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles in 2004 and 2005, and Zamberlin won GNAC Coach of the Year honors both of those years. All told, Zamberlin was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 1998, 2002, 2004, and 2005. In 2003, the Wildcats were preseason ranked #1, and that came on the heels of an incredible 2002 season.

In 2002, Central Washington ended the season ranked #5 (DII & AFCA), going 11-0 in the regular season, including a 31-16 win over Big Sky co-champion Montana State, on their way to the NCAA Division II playoffs. CWU led the league in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense, scoring defense, total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, and scoring offense. The Wildcats also got it done in the classroom, as in 2002 his team had the highest grade point average in the GNAC as well. That 2002 team also defeated UC Davis 38-14 and North Dakota 43-7.

Zamberlin earned his first conference title as a coach in 1998 with Central Washington after a 7-4 season that saw the Wildcats go 4-1 in the Columbia Football Conference. That 1998 team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NAIA playoffs.

Zamberlin also instituted CWU's study hall and established their strength and conditioning program. He also personally oversaw academics for his team. As a head coach, Zamberlin has guided his teams to the tune of seven winning seasons and eight seasons of .500 or better. His head coaching successes at Central followed a nine-year career as an assistant at three different I-AA schools. Zamberlin served nine years in the Division I, spending the 1995 and 1996 seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Richmond, helping the Spiders rank 12th or better in total defense nationally both seasons. Zamberlin also handled all of the defensive special teams at Richmond, and assisted with the strength and conditioning program.

Prior to Richmond, John got a taste of the Big Sky Conference as he served as the linebackers coach at Eastern Washington, working for both Dick Zornes and Mike Kramer. With the Eagles, John also oversaw all defensive special teams, and he coached and designed the kickoff coverage unit. With the Eagles, Zamberlin was a part of their 1992 NCAA I-AA playoff squad that won a share of the Big Sky Conference title.

Zamberlin got his collegiate coaching start at the University of Massachusetts as a linebackers coach from 1987-1990, helping the Mineutemen to a pair of Yankee Conference titles in 1988 and 1990. The Yankee Conference morphed into the Atlantic-10 Conference, meaning his nine years of Division I coaching came in the two dominant leagues in the Football Championship Subdivision.

In his collegiate coaching career, Zamberlin has been a part of seven conference titles (four as a head coach), and he has been a part of three trips to the Division I FCS playoffs (formerly I-AA) and a trip to both the Division II and the NAIA playoffs. He also has won five coach of the year awards, including the 2002 Western Region Division II Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the Pacific Lutheran University Hall of Fame in 1996, and his jersey was retired in 1985 after a stellar career as an All-America selection in 1978.

Zamberlin played linebacker in the NFL for six seasons, playing 78 total games with the New England Patriots (1979-1982) and the Kansas City Chiefs (1983-1984). He was a fifth round draft choice of New England out of Pacific Lutheran University, where he earned a degree in 1979 in physical education.

While with New England, he recorded one career interception, a fumble recovery, and he recovered a blocked kick against the New York Jets, and his lateral on that play led to a 56-yard touchdown, only the second blocked field goal return for a touchdown in Patriots history. He was also drafted in baseball by the Seattle Mariners after a standout collegiate career as a centerfielder. The 51-year old Zamberlin (born February 13, 1956) has been married to his wife Mary Ellen for 10 years, and they have four children, Megan (21), Kyle (17), Kenny (7), and Kasey (5).

"I am anxious to work with Coach Zamberlin to move our program, in a consistent manner, to the top of the Big Sky Conference and into the NCAA Division I Football Championships," said Bubb.


Year  School              Position          W  L  T    W  L   Finish       Postseason
1987  Massachusetts       Assistant Coach   3  8  0    2  5   Fifth (Tie)-YC
1988  Massachusetts       Assistant Coach   8  4  0    6  2   First (Tie)-YC	I-AA Playoffs - 1st Round
1989  Massachusetts       Assistant Coach   5  5  1    3  5   Seventh-YC
1990  Massachusetts       Assistant Coach   8  2  1    7  1   First-YC	I-AA Playoffs - 1st Round
1992  Eastern Washington  Assistant Coach   7  4  0    6  1   First (Tie)-BSC	I-AA Playoffs - 1st Round
1993  Eastern Washington  Assistant Coach   7  3  0    5  2   Third
1994  Eastern Washington  Assistant Coach   4  7  0    2  5   Sixth
1995  Richmond            Assistant Coach   7  3  1    5  3   Third (Tie)-YC
1996  Richmond            Assistant Coach   2  9  0    1  7   Eleventh-YC
1997  Central Washington  Head Coach        5  4  0    3  2   Third-CFC
1998  Central Washington  Head Coach        7  4  0    4  1   First (Tie)-CFC	NAIA-Quarterfinals
1999  Central Washington  Head Coach        4  5  0    2  2   Third-CFC
2000  Central Washington  Head Coach        5  5  0    3  1   Second-CFC
2001  Central Washington  Head Coach        4  7  0    1  2   Third-GNAC
2002  Central Washington  Head Coach       11  1  0    3  0   First-GNAC	Division II Playoffs - 1st Round
2003  Central Washington  Head Coach        6  4  0    2  1   Second-GNAC
2004  Central Washington  Head Coach        7  4  0    5  1   First-GNAC
2005  Central Washington  Head Coach        8  2  0    6  0   First-GNAC
2006  Central Washington  Head Coach        6  5  0    3  5   Fifth (Tie)-NCC
      Assistant Coaching Record            51 45  3   37 31
      Head Coaching Record                 63 41  0   32 15
      Overall Coaching Record             114 86  3   69 46

Conference Key YC-Yankee Conference (Division I-FCS) BSC-Big Sky Conference (Division I-FCS) CFC-Columbia Football Conference (NAIA) NCC-North Central Conference (NCAA II) GNAC-Great Northwest Athletic Conference (NCAA II)

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John Zamberlin was named head football coach at Idaho State University.
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