BATON ROUGE – Steve Kragthorpe, who spent seven years as the head coach at Tulsa and Louisville, has been named offensive coordinator at LSU, head coach Les Miles announced on Thursday.
"Steve brings to our staff the type of experience necessary to develop quarterbacks," Miles said. "He's an experienced play-caller who will bring a great deal of enthusiasm and energy to the staff. Steve will come in and build on what we've been able to accomplish on offense in the past. We think he's a great addition, and we're excited about bringing Steve and his family to Baton Rouge."
Known as a top offensive mind with experience in developing quarterbacks, Kragthorpe will oversee the LSU offense while also serving as the Tigers' quarterbacks coach.
"I'm very excited to join the staff at LSU and to work with Coach Miles," Kragthorpe said on Thursday. "I have had great respect for Coach Miles since my days at Tulsa when I was preparing to play his Oklahoma State team. Since then, I've watched his career and I've been extremely impressed with what he's done at LSU.
"This is a great opportunity to join the coaching staff for one of the top programs in college football and to compete in a league as strong and competitive as the SEC."
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.
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.
The Kragthorpe File
Year at LSU: First (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)
1997 Cotton Bowl (lost to UCLA, 29-23)
1998 Sugar Bowl (lost to Ohio State, 24-14)
1999 Alamo Bowl (lost to Penn State, 24-0)
2000 Independence Bowl (lost to Mississippi State, 43-41)
2003 Humanitarian (lost to Georgia Tech, 52-10)
2005 Liberty (def. Fresno State, 31-24)
2006 Armed Forces (lost to Utah, 25-13)
(Courtesy: LSU Athletics Department)