Coach Beau Baldwin honored for accomplishments in Eastern's illustrious 2010 season, which continues Friday when EWU hosts defending champion Villanova at 5 p.m. at Roos Field in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs
Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin has been named one of five FCS finalists for the esteemed Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.
The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award is the premiere college football coaching honor that celebrates coaches for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence, as well as their efforts to give back to their team, school and community both on and off the field.
The finalists for the award were determined as a result of online fan voting at www.CoachoftheYear.com and through an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. Coach Baldwin qualified for the model by finishing among the top 15 in fan votes in the FCS division. The model considers, among other criteria: wins, team penalties, on-field sportsmanship, academic achievement by the student-athletes and civic and philanthropic endeavors.
"Coach Baldwin is a great candidate for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award," said Greg Gordon, Liberty Mutual senior vice president, Consumer Marketing. "The passionate Eastern Washington fans and alumni have suitably honored his coaching excellence, his dedication to student-athletes, and his commitment to community by casting votes and sharing anecdotes about his contributions, both on and off the field."
Joining Coach Baldwin among the five finalists for the Football Championship Subdivision are, in alphabetical order: Rob Ash, Montana State; K.C. Keeler, Delaware; Danny Rocco, Liberty; and Andy Talley, Villanova.
"It is well-deserved for Coach Baldwin to be a 2010 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year finalist, and is also an honor for Eastern Washington to be included among this esteemed list of candidates," said EWU Athletics Director Bill Chaves. "Coach Baldwin is the epitome of a leader, on and off the field, and Eagles fans and alumni everywhere celebrate this achievement."
The winning coach, as selected by a combination of online fan voting and a committee of college football media and College Football Hall of Fame players and coaches, receives $50,000 to donate to the charities of his choice and a $20,000 grant to his school's alumni association, providing further positive impact on their school and local community.
As fan voting accounts for 20 percent of a coach's final score, Eastern Washington students, alumni, and fans are encouraged vote for Coach Baldwin online at www.CoachoftheYear.com from Monday, December 13 through Tuesday, December 28. The winners in each division will be announced during a televised luncheon prior to the BCS National Championship game on January 10th in Glendale, Arizona.
Coach Baldwin, who is in his third year at the helm of the EWU football program, has led the Eagles to one of the most spectacular years in school history. The 2010 squad earned the school's first-ever No. 1 ranking in the Sports Network/Fathead.com national poll, and have advanced to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs for just the second time since Eastern became an official member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) in 1984.
After earning a 7-1 league record in 2010, the Eagles also captured a share of the Big Sky Conference title for the first time since 2005, while junior running back Taiwan Jones and senior linebacker J.C. Sherritt were named the BSC offensive and defensive players of the year. Sherritt and Jones were also selected to the 2010 AFCA Football Championship Subdivision Coaches' All-America Team.
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Coach Baldwin's superior leadership certainly extends beyond the athletic arena. In his first two years as head coach, 36 football student-athletes have been named to the Big Sky All-Academic team, and in 2009, defensive end Jacob Kragt was honored on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America First Team. Baldwin is also an active member of the community, organizing local food drives and encouraging players and community members to participate in blood drives.