|Sam Houston State Bearkats|
|Athletic director||Bobby Williams|
|Head coach||K. C. Keeler |
5th season, 52–17 (.754)
|Field surface||Real Grass Pro Artificial Surface|
|NCAA division||Division I FCS|
|All-time record||529–464–34 (.532)|
|Bowl record||3–1–1 (.700)|
|Claimed nat'l titles||1|
|Rivalries||Stephen F. Austin (rivalry)|
|Colors||Orange and White|
|Fight song||Bearkat Fight Song|
|Marching band||Bearkat Marching Band|
The Sam Houston State Bearkats football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Sam Houston State University located in the U.S. state of Texas. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Southland Conference. Sam Houston's first football team was fielded in 1912. The team plays its home games at the 12,593 seat Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas. On January 23, 2014, K. C. Keeler was named the 15th head coach in Sam Houston State program history.
Sam Houston has fielded a football team since 1912 and have played continuously since 1946 following World War II. The only times the Bearkats did not field a football team were in 1918 for World War I and from 1943 to 1945 for World War II. The Bearkats competed independently from 1912 through 1923, in the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA) from 1924 to 1931, in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 1932 to 1981, in NCAA Division II from 1982 to 1985 and in NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) since the 1986 season.
The Bearkats have 11 conference championships, and have seen post-season NCAA playoff action in six seasons, with back-to-back NCAA Division I Championship game appearances in 2011–2012. Sam Houston State also has 3 bowl victories in four games, and one claimed National Championship from NAIA in the 1964 season.
Ron Randleman is Sam Houston's and the Southland Conference's all-time winningest coach with 132 wins over a span of 23 years. Randleman also won conference Coach of the Year honors on four occasions, in the Gulf Star Conference in 1985 and 1986, and in the Southland Conference in 1991, and 2001.
Willie Fritz coached Sam Houston to back-to-back conference championships and back-to-back national title game appearances in only three years, while being awarded the 2011 AFCA National Coach of the Year award and the 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. He was also named the 2012 AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.
|S. R. Warner||1912||1913||5||3||1|
|J. W. Jones||1923||1935||54||53||9||1930 Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions|
|Henry O. Crawford||1936||1937||7||12||0|
|Paul Pierce||1952||1967||94||52||7||1955 Lone Star Conference co-champions, 1956 LSC champions, 1964 LSC, NAIA National co-champions, 3 bowl wins in 4 appearances|
|Ron Randleman||1982||2004||131||125||3||1985 Gulf Star Conference co-champions, 1986 GSC champions, 2001 Southland Conference co-champions, 2004 SLC co-champions|
|Willie Fritz||2010||2014||40||15||0||2011 SLC champions, 2011 NCAA Division I Finalist, 2012 SLC co-champions 2012 NCAA Division I Finalist|
|K. C. Keeler||2014||present||46||12||0||2014 SLC co-champions, 2014 NCAA Division I Semifinalist, 2015 NCAA Division I Semifinalist, 2016 SLC champions, 2016 NCAA Division I Quarterfinalist, 2017 NCAA Division I Semifinalist|
Sam Houston State has one national championship, won during their tenure in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. They played Concordia Cobbers for the championship, with the game resulting in a tie. They were Co-champions with Moorhead.
|1964||Paul Pierce||National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics||9–1–1||T 7–7||Concordia College|
Sam Houston State has won 13 conference titles, seven shared and six outright.
|Year||Conference||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1930||Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association||9–1||5–0|
|1955†||Lone Star Conference||6–1–2||5–1–1|
|1956||Lone Star Conference||10–0||7–0|
|1961||Lone Star Conference||8–1||7–0|
|1964†*||Lone Star Conference||9–1–1||5–1|
|1985†||Gulf Star Conference||8–3||4–1|
|1986||Gulf Star Conference||9–3||4–1|
† Denotes shared title.
- 1912–1923: Independent
- 1924–1930: Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association
- 1931–1983: Lone Star Conference (NAIA)
- 1984–1986: Gulf Star Conference (Division I FCS)
- 1987–present: Southland Conference (Division I FCS)
Bowl game appearances
Sam Houston State appeared in five bowl games during their time in the NAIA, going 3–0–1 in these bowl games, with the final one notably being for the NAIA championship.
|1952||Shrimp Bowl||Northeastern State (OK)||W 41–20|
|1953||Refrigerator Bowl||College of Idaho||W 14–12|
|1956||Refrigerator Bowl||Middle Tennessee State||W 27–13|
|1958||Christmas Festival Bowl||Northwestern State||L 11–18|
|1964||Championship Bowl||Concordia College||T 7–7|
Division I-AA/FCS Playoffs results
The Bearkats have appeared in the I-AA/FCS playoffs 11 times with an overall record of 19–11.
|1986||First Round||Arkansas State||L 7–48|
|1991||First Round||Middle Tennessee State||L 19–20 OT|
National Championship Game
North Dakota State
National Championship Game
North Dakota State
North Dakota State
North Dakota State
Pritchett Field (1912–1985)
The Bearkats' home for football was on Pritchett Field for 73 years (1912–1985) beginning with their first football game against Rice University in 1912. The field was named after Joseph Pritchett, brother of the university's fourth president Henry Carr Pritchett, and former owner of the land the field rests on.
The final football game played on Pritchett Field was a victory for the Bearkats with a score of 51–7, defeating Washburn University. Sam Houston State Football began playing games at Bowers Stadium following the 1985 season. The complex is currently home to Sam Houston Women's Soccer and Club Lacrosse.
On April 18, 2013, football was played on Pritchett Field for the first time since 1985 for the annual Orange-White spring game. The event also included the presentation of the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award to head coach Willie Fritz.
Bowers Stadium (1986–present)
Bowers Stadium, formerly Bearkat Stadium (1986–1989), is currently home to both Sam Houston State Football and the Track and Field programs beginning with the 1986 season. Bowers Stadium has a capacity of 14,000. However, 16,148 fans packed Bowers Stadium in 1994 to watch Alcorn State led by NFL bound quarterback Steve McNair in a 48-23 SAM HOUSTON victory on regional ABC-TV.
Stephen F. Austin
The Sam Houston State/Stephen F. Austin rivalry game, also known as the Battle of the Piney Woods, is a yearly rivalry held in NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The two teams have met 91 times with Sam Houston leading the series 54-35-2. The Battle of the Piney Woods is Texas' second longest FCS rivalry. The most recent meeting ending with the Bearkats dominating the Lumberjacks 63-28 in front of 27,411 fans and clinching their 6th win in a row
Notable former players
Bearkats in the National Football League
Sam Houston has had 36 alumni play in the National Football League, with 19 players selected in the Draft. During the 2018 NFL Draft, the Oakland Raiders selected defensive lineman P. J. Hall in the second round. This represents the highest a Bearkat player has been drafted by an NFL team.
- Scorpio Babers (2008–2009), CB, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers
- Michael Bankston (1992–2000), DL, Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals
- Stan Blinka (1979–1983), LB, New York Jets
- Rhett Bomar (2009–2012), QB, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders
- Keith Davis (2002–2008), DB, Dallas Cowboys
- Tim Denton (1998–2000), DB, Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers
- Johnnie Dirden (1978–1981), WR, Houston Oilers, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Trey Diller (2013), WR, Carolina Panthers
- Matt Dominguez (2001), TE, Denver Broncos
- Lac Edwards (2016–Present), P, New York Jets
- P. J. Hall (2018–Present), DT, Oakland Raiders
- Odie Harris (1988–1995), DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, Houston Oilers
- Keith Heinrich (2002–2004, 2007), TE, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Jimmy Hill (1955–1966), DB, Chicago/St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs
- Garry Kimble (1987), CB, Washington Redskins
- Josh McCown (2002–present), QB, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets
- Guido Merkens (1978–1987), DB QB P WR, Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles
- Mike Nelms (1980–1984), DB, Washington Redskins
- Ralph Ruthstrom (1945–1949), FB HB QB, Cleveland/LA Rams, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Colts
- Julian Spence (1956–1961), DB, Chicago Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Oilers
- D. D. Terry (2007–2008), RB, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans
- George Wright (1970–1972), DT, Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns
Sam Houston State University has had a total of 73 players selected into the College Football All-America Team, including 43 NCAA All-Americans and 30 NAIA All-Americans. A number of these players have also been considered for major national awards. In 2016, quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe became the first Bearkat to win the Payton Award. In 2017 he became the first Bearkat to win two Payton Awards and only the second FCS player to win multiple Payton Awards after former Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards became the first in 2009.
Sam Houston State has had 407 All-Conference selections and honorable mentions, including 202 in the Southland Conference, 25 in the Gulf Star Conference, 173 in the Lone Star Conference, and 7 in the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
Individual program records
- Most rushing attempts, career: 758, Timothy Flanders (2010–2012)
- Most rushing attempts, season: 298, Timothy Flanders (2011)
- Most rushing attempts, game: 39, Charles Harris vs North Texas (1993)
- Most rushing yards, career: 4,234, Timothy Flanders (2010–2012)
- Most rushing yards, season: 1,644, Timothy Flanders (2011)
- Most rushing yards, game: 287, Timothy Flanders vs Montana (2011)
- Most rushing touchdowns, career: 52, Timothy Flanders (2010–2012)
- Most rushing touchdowns, season: 22, Timothy Flanders (2011)
- Most rushing touchdowns, game: 5, Timothy Flanders (September 20, 2011 vs. New Mexico)
- Longest rush from scrimmage: 90 yards, Charles Harris vs Rice (1993), Arthur Louis vs SFA (1978), Dennis Gann vs Texas A&I (1966)
- Most games with at least 100 rushing yards, career: 25, Timothy Flanders (2010–2012)
- Most games with at least 100 rushing yards, season: 10, Timothy Flanders (2012)
- Most games with at least 200 rushing yards, career: 2, Charles Harris (1993), D. D. Terry (2006), Timothy Flanders (2011–2012)
- Most games with at least 200 rushing yards, season: 2, Charles Harris (1993, D. D. Terry (2006)
- Most passing attempts, career: 770, Brian Bell (2010–2012)
- Most passing attempts, season: 531, Dustin Long (2004)
- Most passing attempts, game: 69, Rhett Bomar vs Southeastern Louisiana (2008)
- Most passing completions, career: 450, Brian Bell (2010–2012)
- Most passing completions, season: 333, Dustin Long (2004)
- Most passing completions, game: 38, Dustin Long vs Eastern Washington at FCS Quarterfinals (2004)
- Most passing yards, career: 6,165, Brian Bell (2010–2012)
- Most passing yards, season: 4,588, Dustin Long (2004)
- Most passing yards, game: 577, Dustin Long McNeese State (2004)
- Most passing touchdowns, career: 52, Brian Bell (2010–2012)
- Most passing touchdowns, season: 39, Dustin Long (2004)
- Most passing touchdowns, game: 5, 9 times by Dustin Long (4 times), Chris Chaloupka (3 times), Josh McCown (1 time), Rhett Bomar (1 time)
- Longest pass completion: 99 yards, Binky Ford to Frankie Reescano vs Howard Payne University (1980)
- Most games with at least 300 passing yards, career: 8, Dustin Long (2004)
- Most games with at least 300 passing yards, season: 8, Dustin Long (2004)
- Most receptions, career: 211, Matt Dominguez (1997–2000)
- Most receptions, season: 99, Jarrod Fuller (2004)
- Most receptions, game: 13, Torrance Williams vs Central Arkansas (2013)
- Most receiving yards, career: 3,273, Matt Dominguez (1997���2000)
- Most receiving yards, season: 1,477, Jonathon Cooper (2001)
- Most receiving yards, game: 242, Jonathon Cooper vs Western Illinois (2001)
- Most touchdown receptions, career: 27, Matt Dominguez (1997–2000)
- Most touchdown receptions, season: 18, Jonathon Cooper (2001)
- Most touchdown receptions, game: 4, Matt Dominguez vs Nicholls State (1999)
- Longest pass reception: 97 yards, Frankie Reescano from Blinky Ford vs Howard Payne (1980)
- Most games with at least 100 receiving yards, career: 10, Matt Dominguez (1997–2000)
- Most tackles, career: 538, Stan Blinka (1975–1978)
- Most tackles, season: 211, Stan Blinka (1978)
- Most tackles, game: 24, Stan Blinka (1978 vs Stephen F. Austin)
- Most sacks, career: 36, Andre Finley (1986–1989)
- Most sacks, season: 15, Andre Finley (1988)
- Most sacks, game: 4, Michael Bankston (1991 vs Angelo State), Will Henry (2010 vs Nicholls State)
- Most interceptions, career: 14, Daxton Swanson (2009–2012)
- Most interceptions, season: 8, Daxton Swanson (2011)
- Most interceptions, game: 3, Charles Stanley vs. Howard Payne (1977), Mark Hughes vs. McNeese State (2004)
- "FAQ's about new branding". GoBearkats.com. April 16, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
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- "Sam Houston State Coaching Records". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
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- "SHSU's Willie Fritz Named AFCA Coach of the Year". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- "Football Back At Pritchett Thursday Night". Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- "Willie Fritz earns AFCA Regional Coach of the Year". Retrieved 2013-04-12.
- "Sam Houston State Bearkat History". GoBearkats.com. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "Sam Houston State Conference Championships". Retrieved 2013-04-09.
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- McNair Hurt As Alcorn St. Loses, 48-23. Washington Post (September 25, 1994). Retrieved 2014-7-17. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- "NFL Players who attended Sam Houston State University". DatabaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
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- Sam Houston State Football Records – National Awards (PDF). Sam Houston State Athletics. p. 38.
- Sam Houston State Football Records – All Conference Players (PDF). Sam Houston State Athletics. pp. 39–40.
- Sam Houston State Football Records – Rushing (PDF). Sam Houston State Athletics. pp. 8–11.
- Sam Houston State Football Records – Passing (PDF). Sam Houston State Athletics. pp. 12–14.
- Sam Houston State Football Records – Receiving (PDF). Sam Houston State Athletics. pp. 16–18.
- Sam Houston State Football Records – Defensive (PDF). Sam Houston State Athletics. pp. 21–22.