The Frontier Conference will soon feature nine football programs with the addition of the College of Idaho in 2014, the league announced Wednesday.
C of I disbanded its football program in 1977, but officials recently decided to bring the sport back to the campus in Caldwell, Idaho, located 25 miles west of Boise.
“We are extremely pleased to join the Frontier Conference, which shares The College of Idaho’s commitment to educating student-athletes who excel in academics and athletics,” College of Idaho President Marv Henberg said. “This is an ideal match, and we look forward to the excitement that Yotes fans will experience as we develop rivalries with our fellow members of the conference.”
The Frontier Conference, which includes six-time NAIA national champion Carroll College, will expand to eight football-playing members this fall with the addition of Dickinson State and Southern Oregon. Dickinson is joining as a full member, while Southern Oregon is joining in football only -- like C of I will do in two more years. C of I plays its other sports in the Cascade Conference, along with Eastern Oregon, which also fields a Frontier Conference football team.
Other football-playing schools in the Frontier Conference are Montana Tech, Montana Western, Montana State-Northern and Rocky Mountain College.
“We will be competing against some of the top NAIA football programs in the country, which is something prospective players strongly desire, and we look forward to that challenge,” C of I Athletic Director Marty Holly said. “National champions in football have come from the Frontier Conference and we like entering that level of competition. That’s the level of excellence we aspire to achieve.”
C of I’s football history is rich in tradition and boasts four players who went on to professional careers in the NFL. The most renowned is the late R.C. Owens, who played eight years for the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.
During the seven decades of C of I’s football program, the Yotes played games against Frontier Conference members Carroll College, Eastern Oregon, Montana Tech, Montana Western, Rocky Mountain and Southern Oregon. The College of Idaho compiled a 32-13 record against those teams before the program was shelved 35 years ago.
“As commissioner of the Frontier Conference, I couldn’t be happier for the staff, students and the community of Caldwell,” conference commissioner Kent Paulson said. “We look for a long and prosperous relationship with a school known for its high standards of academic excellence and tremendous athletic programs.”
A national search for a head coach will be launched in September, with a target of selecting that individual by December, according to the school.