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Eastern Washington promotes Eti Ena to defensive coordinator

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 23, 2019, 7:08 p.m.

Eastern Washington’s Eti Ena was named defensive coordinator on Wednesday. (EWU Athletics / Courtesy)
Eastern Washington’s Eti Ena was named defensive coordinator on Wednesday. (EWU Athletics / Courtesy)

Eti Ena was named Eastern Washington’s defensive coordinator Wednesday, replacing Jeff Schmedding, who recently joined Boise State’s coaching staff as a co-special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

Ena, a defensive line coach at EWU the last two seasons, takes over a defense that yielded a Big Sky Conference-best 16.9 points per game last season and reached the FCS national title game.

“I am so excited for this opportunity,” said Ena, who is also the Eagles’ associate head coach. “I love this program and the people we have here at EWU. I want to thank the coaches I get to work with and the players for all their hard work and dedication.

“We have made strides defensively the last couple years and now it’s time to advance the standard even further.”

Ena, who starred at Inchelium High School in the early 1990s and played at Snow and Walla Walla junior colleges, is a former defensive line coach at Idaho and Cal Poly. He was also a defensive coordinator at NAIA Eastern Oregon.

“We’re excited and eager for Coach Ena,” EWU head coach Aaron Best said. “We made great strides on that side of the football this past year and his fingerprints and voice will only enhance the progress we have made. We couldn’t be happier for his wife and family to announce this opportunity.”

Internal coaching hires have been common practice for the Eagles, whose last four head coaching hires were formerly EWU assistants. Before Schmedding was named EWU’s defensive coordinator in 2015, he spent 11 years at EWU as a position coach.

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