Steve Kragthorpe, who spent seven years as the head coach at Tulsa and Louisville, is in his second season as LSU's quarterbacks coach. With a tremendous offensive mind, a keen eye for talent and the ability to help quarterbacks improve, Kragthorpe has already shown that he's the perfect fit for the LSU staff.
Kragthorpe joined the Tigers in January of 2011 and was originally tabbed as LSU's offensive coordinator. However, Kragthorpe relinquished that role before the start of fall practice after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Kragthorpe remains as LSU's quarterbacks coach and has stayed involved with the day-to-day operations of the offense with offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa.
Kragthorpe's impact of the Tiger offense was immediate as under his tutelage senior Jarrett Lee thrived during the first two months of the season, leading the Tigers to a 9-0 mark and the No. 1 national ranking by throwing for 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Upon his return from an early season suspension, senior Jordan Jefferson regained his starting quarterback duties and guided the Tigers to a 4-0 record over the final for games, leading LSU to a win over Georgia in the SEC title game and an appearance in the BCS National Championship contest. In 2011, LSU quarterbacks combined to throw for 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions all year as the Tigers ranked No. 2 in the SEC in pass efficiency with a 147.53 rating.
In 2012, Kragthorpe now turns his attention to a trio of young and inexperienced quarterbacks, two of which have never taken a collegiate snap, in junior Zach Mettenberger, and redshirt freshmen Stephen Rivers and Jerrard Randall. Mettenberger goes into 2012 as the starter with Rivers and Randall battling for the backup role.
Kragthorpe broke into the head coaching ranks in 2003 at Tulsa where he resurrected the Golden Hurricane program. Prior to his arrival in 2003, Tulsa had suffered through 11 straight seasons with a losing record. In his first year, Kragthorpe guided Tulsa to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl, which was the first post-season game for the Golden Hurricane since 1991.
He was named WAC Coach of the Year in 2003, a season that saw Tulsa post the biggest turnaround in college football, going from 1-11 in 2002 to 8-5 in 2003. Kragthorpe was also a finalist for the Bear Bryant and Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Awards in 2003.
Two years later in 2005, Kragthorpe led Tulsa to the Conference USA title with a 9-4 record and a 44-27 win over Central Florida in the C-USA Championship Game. Tulsa capped the 2005 season with a 31-24 victory over Fresno State in the Liberty Bowl, the first bowl victory for the Golden Hurricane since a 28-17 win over San Diego State in the 1991 Freedom Bowl.
In his fourth and final season at Tulsa in 2006, the Golden Hurricane went 8-5 and earned a berth in the Armed Forces Bowl. In four years at Tulsa, Kragthorpe went 29-22 and became only the second coach in school history to lead the Golden Hurricane to three bowl games.
Kragthorpe took over as head coach at Louisville in 2007, coaching the Cardinals for three years, going 15-21. In seven years as a collegiate head coach, Kragthorpe has a 44-43 overall mark.
Prior to his head coaching duties at Tulsa, Kragthorpe coached quarterbacks for two years in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills. In his second season with the Bills, Kragthorpe helped Drew Bledsoe set a franchise record with 4,359 passing yards on his way to earning a spot in the Pro Bowl that year.
Kragthorpe spent four years at Texas A&M from 1997-2000 where he served as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. During his four years with the Aggies, Texas A&M posted a 35-15 overall record, claimed the Big 12 title in 1998 and played in four bowl games, including the 1999 Sugar Bowl.
Kragthorpe's other coaching stops include one year as the quarterbacks coach at Boston College in 1996 where he tutored future NFL quarterback Matt Hasselback; two years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at North Texas in 1994-95 where quarterback Mitch Maher set the single-season school record for passing yards and total offense; and four years at Northern Arizona where he coached quarterbacks for the first two years and then added offensive coordinator to his duties for the final two seasons. At Northern Arizona, he coached Jeff Lewis, who spent five years as a backup quarterback in the NFL.
He got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant in 1988-89 where he served on his father's staff at Oregon State. Kragthorpe's dad, Dave, served as a head coach at the collegiate level for 10 years coaching at South Dakota State, Idaho State and Oregon State. He led Idaho State to the 1981 I-AA national title.
As a player, Kragthorpe spent two years at Eastern New Mexico before transferring to West Texas State. As a senior at West Texas State in 1987, he started 11 games and threw for 1,980 yards and nine touchdowns. Kragthorpe graduated from West Texas State (now West Texas A&M) in 1988 and then added a Master's degree in business administration from Oregon State in 1989.
Kragthorpe, a native of Missoula, Mont., and his wife Cynthia, have three sons - Chris, Brad and Nik. Chris recently finished his playing career as an offensive lineman at Wheaton College in Oklahoma; Brad is a redshirt freshman quarterback at Idaho State; and Nik is the starting quarterback at University High School in Baton Rouge.
The Kragthorpe File
Year at LSU: Second (appointed Jan. 20, 2011)
Birthdate: April 28, 1965 in Missoula, Mont.
Children: Chris, Brad, and Nik
College: West Texas State, '88; Oregon State, '89 (master's in business administration)
1983-84 Eastern New Mexico (quarterback)
1986-87 West Texas State (quarterback)
1988-89 Oregon State (graduate assistant)
1990-93 Northern Arizona (quarterbacks, 1990; offensive coordinator/quarterbacks, 1992-93)
1994-95 North Texas (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1996 Boston College (quarterbacks)
1997-2000 Texas A&M (offensive coordinator/wide receivers)
2001-02 Buffalo Bills (quarterbacks)
2003-06 Tulsa (head coach)
2007-09 Louisville (head coach)
2011- LSU (quarterbacks)
Year Bowl Team Opponent Results
1997 Cotton Texas A&M UCLA L, 29-23
1998 Sugar Texas A&M Ohio State L, 24-14
1999 Alamo Texas A&M Penn State L, 24-0
2000 Independence Texas A&M Mississippi State L, 43-41
2003 Humanitarian Texas A&M Georgia Tech L, 52-10
2005 Liberty Tulsa Fresno State W, 31-24
2006 Armed Forces Tulsa Utah L, 25-13
2012 BCS LSU Alabama L, 21-0