Phenicie vs. Western Colorado

Idaho State head football coach Rob Phenicie and wide receiver Chris Reynolds Jr. (1) celebrate during a game against Western Colorado on Sept. 5, 2019, at Holt Arena.

Idaho State announced Tuesday morning that head football coach Rob Phenicie has agreed to a two-year extension.

Phenicie will be paid $168,875 annually on the new deal, which expires on Jan. 20, 2023.

”We’re very happy to continue working with coach Phenicie,” Idaho State athletic director Pauline Thiros said. “We really like the changes that we’re seeing over these few years and we like the way the program is going. It’s been a very unusual and an adverse fall, but we love our approach going forward and we certainly wanted to continue that and extend it.”

The contract also includes eight potential bonuses, which could raise the total value by another $80,500.

Phenicie’s previous deal, a three-year extension agreed to in October 2017, was set to expire on Jan. 31.

”First of all, I’d like to thank President (Kevin) Satterlee and Pauline here for their belief in how we’re running this program, how we’re going to keep running it moving forward,” Phenicie said. “It’s just exciting be able to lead these men for the next few years.”

Phenicie is 13-21 in three seasons as the Idaho State head coach. After two steadily improving years, which included a win over FBS Nevada in 2017 and the program’s second winning season in 15 years in 2018, the Bengals took a step back in 2019, losing their last six games and finishing 3-9.

Phenicie was named the ISU head coach in April 2017 after Mike Kramer retired. Previously the wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator at Idaho State, Phenicie had taken a job with Northern Iowa a week before that, but returned to Pocatello to take the head job at ISU.

Prior to coming to Idaho State, Phenicie coached at Los Angeles Valley College, Cal State Northridge, Wyoming, Montana and UNLV.

Because the 2020 FBS season was moved to spring 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the extension actually covers three seasons — spring 2021, fall 2021 and fall 2022.

In a press conference Tuesday, Thiros admitted that the pandemic delayed contract negotiations.

”It did make it a different kind of environment to negotiate the contract in, because of course we always like to see a full fall season unfold and understand our challenges and see how those are dealt with,” Thiros said. “But ... there’s also value in going through something like we went through this fall, that’s unprecedented and requires a tremendous commitment on the part of the staff and everybody involved with football to take care of our student-athletes. There’s value in that and I really liked what I saw.”

Idaho State’s spring season is currently scheduled to start Feb. 27 against Weber State at Holt Arena, although the Bengals’ schedule will likely be adjusted in the wake of last week’s news that Big Sky Conference schools Montana, Montana State and Portland State are opting out of the spring.