As the only full fledged D-II football member in California, Humboldt State is overcoming obstacles that many other schools on their schedule don't have to deal with, and winning games in the process. The New York times recently wrote a peice recognizing their progress.
First of all, the football program is financed almost solely through student fees and private donations. Not including scholarships, the University spends about $650,000 a year on football and student tuition has tripled over the past ten years.
Also, the University awards the equivalent of 14 full scholarships. Well below the NCAA allowed 36 for Division II schools. Lastly, Humboldt State's campus is rurally located almost five hours away from the nearest metropolitan area, San Francisco.
Despite the obstacles, head coach Rob Smith and the staff have rapidly turned around the program. The Lumberjacks are currently sitting at 2-0, and ranked #11 in Division II. Last year they finished an impressive 9-1, and sold out two games (which is relatively rare for the rural campus).
Coach Smith, who ranks 8th among active D-II head coaches in wins, has made continual progress each year at Humboldt State. After starting off 2-9 in his first season back in 2008, Smith and the team improved to 5-5 in 2009, 8-3 in 2010 (their first winning season since 2006), and 9-1 with a conference championship last season.
Coach Smith and the staff have done a great job and are looking to take the program to the next level this year. The Lumberjacks take on Simon Fraser (1-1) at home this weekend.