Beau Baldwin leaves Eastern Washington, hired as Offensive Coord - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Beau Baldwin leaves Eastern Washington, hired as Offensive Coordinator at Cal

Eastern Washington Athletics

After nine highly-successful seasons as Eastern Washington University's head coach, Beau Baldwin announced at a media conference on Monday (Jan. 16) that he has accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of California at Berkeley.
 
In his place, EWU athletic director Bill Chaves announced that long-time Eastern assistant coaches Aaron Best and Jeff Schmedding will serve as co-interim head coaches until Baldwin's replacement is announced. Chaves said he will expedite the hiring process to replace Baldwin, who was 85-32 overall and 58-14 in the Big Sky Conference as Eastern's head coach.
 
"I want to give a lot of thank yous for my amazing time at Eastern," said Baldwin. "I would never hit everyone – there is no chance of that – because I haven't prepared for this. It's going to be missed, it's going to be missed.
 
"But given this situation, it was right," he continued. "There are have been other opportunities, but the reason they haven't been right is that this place and the people here have been special. I knew strongly if I had any reservations I would stay and continue to fight like heck as an Eagle. These things happen really fast. As hard as it is to leave – and I want it to be hard because if it's hard it means something – this one is right. It's an incredible opportunity for my family and our career.

"Eastern is much bigger than any one person – it always has been and always will be," Baldwin added. "I know this program will continue to roll, and that excites me. And we're proud of that. I'm excited for the opportunity ahead, but I will miss an amazing place."
Baldwin has been a collegiate coach for 23 seasons, including nine as Eastern's head coach and four as an EWU assistant. He spent 10 years at his alma mater, Central Washington, including one as head coach in 2007 and nine more as an assistant. He received his bachelor's degree in education from Central in 1996 and graduated from Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash., in 1990.
 
Baldwin had a 58-14 Big Sky record for a winning percentage of .806 to rank as the fifth-best in league history. His .733 winning percentage overall (85-31) is seventh all-time in the 53-year history of the Big Sky. He was just four wins shy of the school record of 89 victories by Dick Zornes from 1979-93 during EWU's transition from NAIA to NCAA Division I and the Big Sky.
 
The 2016 season was the sixth time Baldwin has taken the Eagles to the playoffs as head coach (2009-10-12-13-14-16), plus two more as offensive coordinator (2004-05). Eastern finished his final season 12-2 overall after a perfect 8-0 league campaign, winning the school's seventh title with Baldwin as a coach (2004-05-10-12-13-14-16). He coached in a total of 29 postseason playoff games (12 appearances) with a record of 18-10-1, including eight appearances in the FCS Playoffs and two at both the NCAA Division II and NAIA levels when he was at Central Washington.

In his nine years as Eastern's head coach, the Eagles ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in passing offense eight times and total offense six seasons. Eastern led the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in passing offense in 2016 (401.0 yards per game), 2015 (353.3) and 2011 (368.5), and scoring in 2014 (44.1 points per game). In EWU's last 13 seasons (2004-2016), including 12 with Baldwin on the coaching staff, EWU has ranked in the top 10 in passing 11 times, total offense on nine occasions and scoring five times.
 
Included in Baldwin's victories as head coach were a pair of wins over Pac-12 Conference opponents – Oregon State 49-46 in 2013 and Washington State 45-42 to open EWU's 2016 campaign. In 2009, in his second year as head coach, the Eagles fell at Cal 59-7.
 
Baldwin will serve at Cal under Justin Wilcox, who was named the new head coach of the Bears on Jan. 14. Wilcox was previously an assistant coach at Cal, USC and Boise State, and most recently at Wisconsin. He graduated from Oregon in 1999.
 
Best recently concluded his 20th year as an Eagle, including four years at Eastern (1996-99) as an All-America center and 16 season as an assistant coach (2000-2006, 2008-2014) in the 2016-17 school year. An academic honor student as an undergraduate at Eastern, Best is the team's offensive line coach, its running game coordinator and also handles the team's academic coordinator duties.
 
He helped coordinate an offense in 2016 which set seven Big Sky Conference records and two additional EWU marks for a total of nine school records. Eastern finished the year ranked second in FCS in total offense with an average of 529.6 yards per game and was the FCS leader in passing offense (401.0 yards per game). Eastern was also third in scoring offense (42.4).
 
Eastern's offense excelled after Best helped develop an offensive line that lost all five starters from EWU's 2015 squad plus two other seniors. In the last eight games of the 2016 season, the starting lineup consisted of two redshirt freshmen and a trio of sophomores.
 
In the last 13 seasons (2004-16) – 12 with Best on the coaching staff -- EWU has ranked in the top 10 in passing 11 times and in total offense on nine occasions and scoring five times. In the last 23 years (1993-2016), the Eagles have had 22 different offensive linemen earn All-America accolades while winning 26 first team All-Big Sky Conference honors (1993-2015). In 2016, center Spencer Blackburn was a second team All-Big Sky selection and went on to earn sophomore All-America accolades.
 
Among the All-Americans Best has coached was Michael Roos, who became the highest NFL draft choice in school history when he was chosen in the second round – 41st overall – by the Tennessee Titans in 2005. A season-ending knee injury in 2014 led to his retirement from the NFL after 10 seasons. He credited Best in his retirement statement on Instagram on Feb. 26, 2015.
 
"I was very lucky to have the best offensive line coach possible in Aaron Best," praised Roos in response to having his jersey retired at EWU on Oct. 24, 2009. "He taught all of us the meaning of hard work and perseverance."
 
Best started 22-straight games at center for Eastern in 1998 and 1999, earning honorable mention All-Big Sky honors as a junior and first team honors as a senior. He also earned honorable mention All-America honors his final season.
 
An outstanding student with a 3.3 grade point average, as a senior he was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII team and was selected to the FCS Athletic Directors Academic All-Star Team. Twice he was selected to the Big Sky All-Academic team. He received his bachelor's degree in social science from EWU in 2001.
 
He was Eastern's long-snapper for four seasons and was a backup lineman in 1997 when Eastern led the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in total offense (505.6 yards per game). That team finished 12-2 and advanced to the FCS "Final Four." The Eagles were 31-16 in the four seasons Best played for EWU, and Eastern had a 1,000-yard rusher each year. In all, the Eagles have had a 1,000-yard rusher in 11 of the 19 seasons Best has been at EWU.
 
Best graduated in 1996 from Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash., where he had a 3.75 grade point average. He was co-captain his senior season as Curtis won the State AAA championship.
 
Schmedding took over as Eastern's defensive coordinator in 2015 after a highly-successful seven-year stint coordinating special teams. The 2016-17 school year was his 13th year on the coaching staff, and coached safeties for the seventh year.
 
In their last seven victories of the season, the Eagles won by an average of 22.4 points per game, led by a defense which allowed just 113 points (16.1 per game) in those seven victories. That seven-game stretch was Eastern's best since the 1997 team allowed only 105 in its first seven games of the season. The best stretch for EWU's 2010 National Championship team was 131.
 
Eastern's defense in 2016 allowed only 24.4 points per game (195 total, second-best in the league) during its 8-0 Big Sky Conference season after allowing 40.7 against three challenging non-conference opponents. Eastern out-scored opponents by an average of 21.0 points per game in eight league games (45.4 to 24.4, total of 363-195).
 
In a 38-0 victory over Richmond in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs, Eastern's defense recorded its first shutout in 102 games since a 16-0 victory over Northern Colorado on Sept. 19, 2009. The 205 yards Richmond had were the fewest EWU has surrendered in its last 28 games since allowing 168 in a 54-3 win over North Dakota on Nov. 1, 2014.
 
Eastern allowed just 14 points in its first two games in the FCS Playoffs, featuring seven scoreless quarters with a shutout versus Richmond. Aside from a 14-point second quarter for Central Arkansas on Dec. 3, Eastern allowed only 383 total yards in those seven goose eggs for an average of 54.7 per quarter. The total yards allowed by EWU in those two games was 449 (56.1 per quarter). Eastern hadn't had better back-to-back defensive performances since 2004 when Weber State had 147 and Sacramento State had 201 for a total of 348.
 
Schmedding graduated in 2002 from Eastern with his bachelor's degree in health education and a minor in physical education/coaching. He was a health and fitness teacher at University High School in Spokane Valley for two years, and coached football.
 
While he was an EWU undergraduate, he also did his student teaching at U-Hi in 2001 and coached football. Schmedding graduated in 1996 from University High School.

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Many former Eagle greats have voiced their appreciation for Coach Baldwin via social media:

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