Football Cleans Up at Third Annual “EeeWoos”

Taiwan Jones and Erica Chaney tabbed as Best Athletes for the 2010-11 school year

To no one’s surprise, or dismay, the Eastern Washington University football team dominated the awards stand at the third-annual “EeeWoos” on Wednesday (June 1) at Showalter Auditorium in Cheney, Wash.

Football won eight of 12 awards at the annual comedy and music extravaganza, including the coveted prize for Best Team.

The 2010 Eagles reached the pinnacle of collegiate competition this season when it won the NCAA Division I Football National Championship with a 20-19 victory over Delaware on Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The Eagles won their final 11 games of the season to finish the year with school-record 13 victories (13-2 overall).  The team was undefeated on its new, red Sprinturf surface at Roos Field, which included three playoff games. The football team also earned a share of the Big Sky crown for the first time since 2005.

Although there were many unforgettable games during the 2010 football season, none was more impressive than the dramatic come-from-behind victory in the title game versus Delaware, and thus, it was chosen as the Best Game.

The competition for Best Play was fierce this year, with 15 nominations, but in the end, the final touchdown pass from Bo Levi Mitchell to Brandon Kaufman in the national championship game was picked as the winner.

In a unanimous selection, head coach Beau Baldwin was honored as the Best Coach. Former All-American running back Taiwan Jones won the award for Male Athlete of the Year, and he was there to accept the award in person. Jones won by a slim four-vote margin over senior linebacker J.C. Sherritt.

The award for Male Newcomer of the Year went to Mitchell, while Female Newcomer honors were given to freshman Olivia Midles of the track and field team in another exceptionally close vote.

For the second year in a row, a thrower from the track and field team was tabbed as the Female Athlete of the Year. Senior Erica Chaney won the 2011 honor after she set two school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put. She also won three Big Sky titles during the year, in the indoor weight throw and outdoor shot and discus throw.

The award for Best Record Breaking Performance went to Sherritt, who broke his own league and school records by finishing his senior season with 176 tackles, which ranks sixth in FCS history. Sherritt was also the 2010 Buck Buchanan Award Winner, presented by The Sports Network to the top defensive player in the FCS.

Senior Scholar-Athlete honors went to Julie Piper of the women’s basketball team and Matt Martin from football. Rounding out the winners was senior Kyla Evans, who repeated as the Triple Threat Citizen. She took home the same prize last year, which recognizes student-athletes for community service, athletic accomplishments and academic achievement.

The EeeWoos are the brainchild of Davin Perry, the athletic department’s electronic media coordinator, and are modeled after ESPN's ESPY Awards. Winners are determined based on a vote of all head coaches and athletic department support staff.

Perry’s video productions were featured, including humorous skits and inspirational stories. Highlights from the event will be available shortly on www.goeags.com.

Below is a complete list of winners as well as the other finalists for the awards presented to student-athletes, teams, coaches and performances.

THE WINNERS . . .

BEST TEAM

Football (13-2, 7-1 BSC) . . . Thanks to a come-from-behind victory in the title game, Eastern won its final 11 games of the season to win the 2010 NCAA Division I Football Championship. As a result, the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) selected Eastern as its Team of the Year. Eastern won the title with four-straight playoff wins, including a 20-19 victory over Delaware in the championship game on Jan. 7, 2011, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The Eagles scored three touchdowns in the final 16:48 of the game to rally from a 19-0 deficit and end their season with a school-record 13 victories (13-2 overall). Eastern finished 8-0 on its new, red Sprinturf surface at Roos Field (formerly Woodward Field), including three playoff games. In particular, the overtime victory against North Dakota State tested Eastern’s mettle, as the Eagles had to go on a 13-play, 90-yard drive to knot the game with 23 seconds to play in regulation. Eastern was no stranger to narrow victories, with nine of Eastern’s wins coming by an average of 6.2 points per game, including seven decided by seven points or less. Of those nine games, the Eagles trailed or were tied in the fourth quarter of six of them, in one they trailed in the third quarter and in the other two they were scoreless in the final stanza.


BEST GAME/COMPETITION

Football versus Delaware (1/7/11) . . . Facing seemingly insurmountable odds in trailing 19-0 late in the third quarter, Eastern rallied for a 20-19 victory over Delaware in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2011, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. The Eagles scored three touchdowns in the final 16:48 of the game to win for the sixth time when it trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter. Texas native Bo Levi Mitchell was selected as the game’s Most Outstanding Player after passing for 302 yards and all three Eastern touchdowns in the comeback, giving him a school-record 37 TD passes for the season. Defensively, Buck Buchanan Award Winner J.C. Sherritt had 18 tackles to equal the seventh-most in school history as the Eagles held the Blue Hens scoreless in their last four possessions. Eastern found itself behind 19-0 mid-way through the third quarter and had been out-gained 337-98 at that point in total offense. Eastern dominated the rest of the game, owning a 229-90 advantage with touchdown drives of 80, 89 and 63 yards. Eastern scored what would prove to be the game-winner with 2:47 left in the game. Mitchell had touchdown passes of 22 yards to Brandon Kaufman, 9 to Nicholas Edwards and 11 to Kaufman to end those three drives, then Eastern stopped Delaware on downs at the EWU 39-yard line with 47 ticks of the clock left to wrap-up the title.


BEST PLAY

Bo Levi Mitchell to Brandon Kaufman Final Touchdown Pass in National Championship (versus Delaware 1/7/11) . . . Junior Bo Levi Mitchell had a school-record 37 touchdown passes  in the 2010 season and sophomore Brandon Kaufman caught 15 of those himself, but none were bigger than their 11-yard connection with 2:37 to play in the NCAA Division I Championship game in Frisco, Texas. The connection capped a 63-yard drive as EWU used three long drives in the final 16:48 to rally from a 19-0 deficit for a 20-19 victory. It was the sixth victory of the season for EWU when it trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter.


BEST COACH

Beau Baldwin - Football . . . In leading Eastern to the NCAA Division I Football Championship, Baldwin was selected as the College Sporting News Coach of the Year and won the same honor from the American Football Monthly. He was on the voting list for the 2010 Eddie Robinson Award presented by The Sports Network, and was a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award. In addition, the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) selected Baldwin as its Coach of the Year. Baldwin is now 27-11 in three seasons at the helm at Eastern. Coupled with the 2007 season at his alma mater, Central Washington, Baldwin is 37-14 in four seasons as a head coach, including an 18-6 record in the Big Sky Conference. After guiding the Eagles to a 6-5 record in 2008, he led EWU to the FCS Playoffs with an 8-4 record in 2009 and a 13-2 mark in the 2010 season that included a co-championship with Montana State in the Big Sky. He also was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for EWU from 2003-06. In a short amount of time, Baldwin has taken a perennial playoff participant and honed it into a national champion. Ironically, many observers didn't even have EWU ranked as a top 25 team before the 2010 season began, but the Eagles finished both the regular season and playoffs ranked No. 1.


BEST MALE ATHLETE

Taiwan Jones - Football . . . Running back Taiwan Jones, who had a year of eligibility remaining but declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft, finished fourth in the voting for the 2010 Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network to the top offensive player in the FCS. He was also selected to five different All-America teams as a first-team selection, and was the Phil Steele Publications FCS Offensive Player of the Year, the College Football Performance Awards Running Back of the Year and the Big Sky Offensive MVP. Despite missing three games and parts of two others because of injuries, he rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns to rank second in FCS in rushing (145.2 per game), second in all-purpose yards (201.8 per game) and 13th in scoring (8.50 per game with 17 total touchdowns). Although he missed Eastern’s final two games with a foot injury, Jones finished his career with a string of seven-straight 100-yard rushing performances. Jones is only the 12th Eagle to rush for over 2,000 yards in his career, and ranks fifth with 2,955. He also had a career average of 162.0 all-purpose yards per game to rank as the school record, 37 total touchdowns to rank third, his total of 5,021 all-purpose yards are second, his 1,134 kickoff return yards are sixth and he ranks fourth in points scored with 222. He had five plays in his career of at least 80 yards, 10 of 70 or more, 16 of at least 60, 21 of at least 50 and 36 of at least 32 yards. He had a school-record 96-yard touchdown run versus Idaho State in 2009. Twelve times in his career he eclipsed the 200-yard mark in all-purpose yards and had 15 rushing performances of at least 100 yards.


BEST FEMALE ATHLETE

Erica Chaney – Track and Field … On her way to breaking a pair of 20-year-old shot put records, Chaney set her first school record during the indoor season at the Bronco Open in Nampa, Idaho. With her toss of 51-7, Chaney surpassed the 20-year-old record of 50-11, which was set by Nancy Kuiper in 1991. Chaney went on to place second in the event at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships and also pulled off an unanticipated win in the weight throw. Chaney defended her discus title at the outdoor conference championships, while also claiming the crown in the shot put with another school-record mark of 51-0 3/4. Chaney tallied eight All-Big Sky accolades for EWU at Big Sky indoor and outdoor championship meets in her career. She advanced to the NCAA Division I West Regional meet as the 26th-ranked shot put competitor in the nation.


MALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Bo Levi Mitchell - Football . . . Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell had a triumphant return to his home state, passing for 302 yards and three touchdowns to earn Most Outstanding Player accolades in leading Eastern to a come-from-behind 20-19 victory over Delaware in the NCAA Division I Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2011, in Frisco, Texas. Mitchell is from Katy, Texas, and transferred from Southern Methodist University following the 2009 season. He completed 29-of-43 passes and directed EWU on scoring drives of 80 (5 plays), 89 (14 plays) and 63 yards (8 plays). His three touchdowns against Delaware gave him 37 for the season and helped him break the single-season school record of 34 set by Matt Nichols in 2007. Mitchell also broke school records for attempts (505) and completions (300). For the season, Mitchell completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 3,496 yards (fifth in school history), a school-record 37 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a passing efficiency rating of 135.8. In NCAA Football Championship Subdivision statistics, he finished ranked 20th in passing offense (233.1 yards per game), 26th in total offense (236.2) and 26th in efficiency (135.8).


FEMALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Olivia Midles – Track and Field … Midles was second in the hammer throw with a mark of 181-2 in her first conference championship. The Olympia, Wash, native was impressive during her first season in red and white, winning multiple competitions while climbing to third on EWU's all-time best list. She qualified for the NCAA Division I West Regional meet as the 43rd-ranked hammer thrower.


BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE

J.C. Sherritt - Football . . . Linebacker J.C. Sherritt broke his own league and school records by finishing his senior season with 176 tackles, which ranks sixth in FCS history. En route to eclipsing his own season record of 170 set in 2009, Sherritt concluded his career with 18 tackles and a pass broken up as the Eagles beat Delaware 20-19 on Jan. 7, 2011, in Frisco, Texas, for the NCAA Division I Football Championship.  He closed his career with a school-record 432 tackles in his 47-game career (35 as a starter) to rank second in Big Sky history and 10th all-time in FCS. Earlier in the playoffs in a 38-31 overtime victory over North Dakota State, Sherritt broke the school record of 399 career tackles previously held by Greg Belzer (1997-2000). Sherritt also holds the single game tackles record with 24 against Weber State on Oct. 10, 2009.


MALE SENIOR SCHOLAR-ATHLETE

Matt Martin - Football . . . Tight end Matt Martin was among the 52 winners of the 13th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team, which was announced by the Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) on Jan. 4, 2011. Martin has a 3.75 grade point average as a double major in communications and finance, and was honored on the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team for the fourth-straight year. In addition, he was selected by his teammates as a co-captain for the 2010 season and received EWU’s Pat Roberts Memorial Award, presented to Martin for achieving both academic and athletic excellence. Martin is the only senior to have played in all 51 games for the Eagles in the past four seasons, helping Eastern to a 36-15 record overall and 24-8 Big Sky Conference mark. He started 19 games at tight end, and had 13 catches for 116 yards in 2010 to go along with career totals of 39 receptions for 349 yards and three touchdowns.


FEMALE SENIOR SCHOLAR-ATHLETE

Julie Piper - Women’s Basketball - 3.72 - Natural Science Education … Piper was named to the Big Sky All-Academic Team for the fourth-consecutive year. She maintains a 3.72 grade point average in education, with an emphasis in natural science, and is also pursuing a minor in special education. At the beginning of the 2010-11 campaign, the two-year team captain was selected as one of the 30 candidates nationwide for the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, which celebrates notable achievements of elite athletes in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Her academic success helped the EWU women’s basketball team earn a spot on the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll for nine-consecutive years - an accomplishment only one other school in Division I history has matched. Piper was also named to the Big Sky Honorable Mention squad in the 2010-11 season, after being tabbed as the league MVP the previous year. She didn’t miss a single game since the first time she stepped on the court as a freshman in 2007. She played in 118 total games, and started all but seven of those contests.


TRIPLE THREAT CITIZEN

Kyla Evans - Women’s Basketball…Evans, the reigning triple threat award winner, has continued to excel in the three areas of academics, athletics and community service throughout her senior season with the Eagles. This year, Evans broke the EWU all-time career record for 3-point field goals made, while helping the Eagles advance to the Big Sky Conference Championship for the seventh time in the last 10 years. Evans finished her career ranked sixth overall in the Big Sky record book for career three pointers. She serves as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President, helping organize and coordinate all SAAC special events, including the Adopt-a-Family Fundraiser and Cheney Food Bank Bowling Fundraiser. She is also a Special Olympics Coach and an active member of the Washington Action for Healthy Kids. Evans earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern in just three years, graduating from the honors program in 2010 with a 3.97 cumulative GPA in communication studies. She is a four-time Big Sky All-Academic honoree and was recently one of just  29 female student-athletes among all Division I, II and III schools in the nation to receive a $7,500 postgraduate scholarship to be used toward completion of an advanced degree. She plans to use the grant at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., where she will begin her master’s work next fall in nonprofit management.

OTHER NOMINEES…

BEST GAME/COMPETITION

Football vs. Montana (9/18/10)
Volleyball vs. Montana (10/30/10)
Football vs. NDSU (12/11/10)
Women’s Basketball at Montana (2/26/11)
Men’s Basketball vs. Montana (2/26/11)


BEST PLAY

Taiwan Jones -- tackle-breaking 77-yard touchdown run versus Sac State (10/23/10)
Jerry Ceja/Renard Williams -- Williams’ fumble-recovery for touchdown, following sack and forced fumble by Ceja versus Montana (9/18/10)
Nick Edwards/Bo Levi Mitchell -- sliding 40-yd touchdown catch by Edwards on pass from Mitchell on game-tying drive versus North Dakota State (12/11/10)
J.C. Sherritt/Zach Johnson -- Sherritt tackle and forced fumble on the one-yard line and recovery by Johnson to keep game and season alive versus North Dakota State (12/11/10)
Bo Levi Mitchell/Brandon Kaufman -- First touchdown catch from Mitchell to Kaufman in national championship versus Delaware (1/7/11)
Greg Herd/Bo Levi Mitchell -- fourth-down conversion by Herd on 16-yard pass from Mitchell in game-tying drive versus North Dakota State (12/11/10)
Brandon Kaufman -- 77-yard touchdown run with a Lambeau Leap versus Villanova (12/17/10)
Taiwan Jones -- spectacular spin move that lead to first down and game-winning field goal versus Montana (9/18/10)
Tremayne Johnson -- Alley-oop dunk  versus Seattle (12/15/10)
Tremayne Johnson -- “and-one” dunk versus Montana (2/26/11)
Kyle King -- come-from-behind 5K victory at the Big Sky Indoor Championships (2/25/11)
Chene Cooper -- reverse through the legs layup at buzzer versus Sacramento State (1/22/11)
Michael Okoro -- down-to-the win in the 200 at the Big Sky Outdoor Championships (5/14/11)
Erica Chaney -- winning discus throw at Big Sky Outdoor Track and Field Championships (5/14/11)


MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Brandon Kaufman -- Football
Kyle King -- Cross Country/Track and Field
J.C. Sherritt -- Football
Brad Wall -- Track and Field


FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Chene Cooper -- Women’s Basketball
Chenoa Coviare - Volleyball
Krystal Deyo -- Track and Field
Brianne Ryan -- Women’s Basketball


MALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Jordan Arakawa -- Track and Field
Michael Okoro -- Track and Field
James Russell/Chris Eriksson -- Tennis
Mario Navarro -- Tennis


FEMALE NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Aubrey Ashenfelter -- Women’s Basketball
Dashia Huff -- Soccer
Amy Kolin -- Cross Country/Track and Field
Helon Ricks -- Tennis


BEST RECORD-BREAKING PERFORMANCE

Whitney Brannan -- Women’s Soccer
Erica Chaney -- Women’s Track and Field
Kyla Evans -- Women’s Basketball
Brad Wall -- Men’s Track and Field
Men’s 4x100-meter Relay -- Men’s Track and Field


MALE SENIOR SCHOLAR ATHELTE

Stephen Praast -- Track and Field -- 3.39 GPA -- Accounting and Management Information Systems
J.C. Sherritt -- Football -- 3.48 GPA -- Health and Fitness


FEMALE SENIOR SCHOLAR ATHELTE

Alysha Cook -- Volleyball -- 3.75 GPA -- Exercise Science
Kellie Holmstedt -- Golf -- 3.79 GPA -- Exercise Science
Alison Reinstein -- Volleyball -- 3.73 GPA-- BA in Visual Communication Design, working on MBA
Tatjana Sparavalo -- Women’s Basketball -- 3.62 GPA -- BA in Finance, working on MBA


TRIPLE THREAT CITIZEN

Tim Armstrong -- Men’s Track and Field
Kirsten Fausko -- Women’s Soccer
Jeff Minnerly -- Football
Julie Piper -- Women’s Basketball

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