Former player and graduate assistant coach for Dennis Erickson takes over as EWU’s running backs coach
Former University of Idaho player Kiel (pronounced Kyle) McDonald has taken over as coach of running backs for the Eastern Washington University football program as spring practice gets underway Tuesday (April 3).
McDonald is the third new coach Eastern has hired since last season. The Eagles earlier announced the addition of cornerbacks coach Cherokee Valeria and tight ends/offensive tackles coach Brian Strandley.
“They all bring something a little bit different, but all are very good and will improve our staff immensely in a number of ways,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “A lot of their strengths people outside of our program really don’t even get a chance to see. I’m very excited to have them join our staff.”
McDonald, who will turn 29 on April 22, was a graduate assistant coach for Dennis Erickson at Arizona State University in 2011. He was an offensive quality control coach for the Sun Devils, who finished 6-7 and lost to Boise State in the Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas, Nev.
Prior to that, McDonald was an intern working with the secondary in 2010 for the San Francisco 49ers, and was defensive backs coach and strength coach that same year for San Jose City College. He also previously coached at Gunderson High School in San Jose, and worked as strength coach at Marshall Performance and Fitness in San Jose.
“It’s great to have his young energy in the office,” said Baldwin. “He worked with the offensive line with Dennis Erickson, but also worked with the running backs as well. As a graduate assistant you wear a lot of hats. He has a presence in both Sacramento and the Bay Area, so that will help us in recruiting. And he’s hungry – he’s less experienced but is ready to get going. He’s already making huge strides and doing great things with our running backs in terms of the relationships he’s building. We’re excited about what he brings to our staff.”
After playing the 2005 season for EWU’s fellow Big Sky Conference member Sacramento State, McDonald played as a cornerback for Erickson in the 2006 season at Idaho. He had 31 tackles (two for loss), one interception and five passes broken up as Idaho finished 4-8.
While at Sacramento State, he played in 10 games in the 2005 season for the 2-9 Hornets. In a 45-17 EWU victory in Sacramento on Oct. 29, 2005, McDonald had one tackle as eventual Payton Award winner Erik Meyer torched the Hornet secondary for a career-high 470 passing yards, which is now third-most in school history.
A Big Sky All-Academic selection, McDonald finished his junior season at Sac State with 17 tackles, one interception and four passes broken up before graduating with honors (Cum Laude) in the spring of 2006.
Prior to playing at Sacramento State, McDonald played two games at Arizona in the 2004 season before an injury ended his season. He earned his position with the Wildcats after recording four tackles and a pass broken up in UA’s spring game in 2004.
Before that, he played at Sacramento City College, earning honorable mention All-NorCal Conference honors as a sophomore. He graduated from Thomas B. Doherty HS in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2001, lettering in football, hockey, baseball and track. He was a first team all-league selection in track as a senior, with a time of 10.6 in the 100 meters.
McDonald was born on April 22, 1983.