Steve Kragthorpe, who spent seven years as the head coach at Tulsa and Louisville, enters his fifth year on the LSU staff in 2014. After serving as quarterbacks coach during his first two years with the Tigers, Kragthorpe moved to the role of special assistant to the head coach and chief of staff for the LSU football program in 2013, a capacity that he continues to serve in.
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 remained as LSU’s quarterbacks coach in 2011 and 2012 helping the Tigers to the school’s first 13-0 regular season in school history in 2011 followed by a 10-3 mark in 2012.
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 UCF 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.
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., has three sons – Chris, Brad and Nik. Chris is a member of the Georgia football staff, Brad is a backup quarterback for the Tigers, while Nik is a student at LSU.