With lots of ties regionally, Josh Fetter enters his fifth season as coach of Eastern’s linebackers.
He coached three-time NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America linebacker Ronnie Hamlin, who played in a school record 53 games (50 as a starter) and had 473 career tackles to break the Big Sky Conference record and rank seventh all-time in FCS. Hamlin earned first team All-Big Sky honors in as a sixth-year senior in 2014, with Cody McCarthy and Miquiyah Zamora each earning honorable mention.
That trio combined for 295 tackles, a year after they combined for 309 in 2013. Hamlin earned All-America and second team All-Big Sky honors that season, and McCarthy received honorable mention. Hamlin was an All-American and earned first team All-Big Sky honors as a sophomore in 2012. Also on the unit was second team All-Big Sky selection Zach Johnson, who finished with 324 tackles in his career to rank fifth all-time at Eastern.
Fetter also coached Johnson in 2011 when he missed most of the season with a chronic knee injury, but Johnson was granted a sixth year by the NCAA and returned in 2012. Tyler Washburn and Grant Williams also received honorable mention All-Big Sky honors, giving EWU a league-leading four on the squad in 2012.
Previous coaching stops for Fetter, a former University of Idaho team captain and 1996 graduate, have included Central Washington, Idaho State and Portland State. While at Central, he coached alongside several current Eagle coaches, including Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. At ISU, he coached with fellow Eastern assistant Brian Strandley and former Eagle assistant and Idaho State head coach John Zamberlin.
Besides Baldwin, defensive coordinator/associate head coach John Graham also coached with Fetter at Central from 1996-2000, as well as Strandley from 1997-2000. Current Eagle coaches Ryan Sawyer and Zak Hill were players at the time.
Fetter spent the 2010 season at Idaho State under Zamberlin, a former Eastern assistant coach and head coach at Central Washington. He and Strandley, who was Fetter’s teammate at Idaho, were defensive line coaches for the Bengals.
Before getting the job at ISU, Fetter was going to be defensive coordinator in the 2010 season at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Prior to that, he spent four seasons as defensive line coach at PSU.
In the 2009 season, two of his Viking linemen earned honorable mention All-Big Sky honors, and in 2007, all three of his regular starters were all-league. In 2006, PSU led the Big Sky in turnover margin, passing efficiency defense, sacks per game, tackles for loss, third-down defense, fourth-down defense and red-zone defense.
Fetter also coached five seasons at Western State in Gunnison, Colo., where he was defensive coordinator, strength and conditioning coach and held the title of assistant head coach.
From 1996-2000 he was at Central, including the final four seasons under Zamberlin as defensive ends coach. He coached defensive tackles in 1996, his first season coaching after graduating from the University of Idaho with a degree in general studies.
While at Idaho, Fetter was a two-year starter and lettered four seasons for the Vandals. As a senior he was voted as a team captain and won Idaho’s most inspirational player award.
Fetter was born Dec. 6, 1972, in Tacoma, Wash. He and his wife, Jahnna, have a son, Michael (9), a daughter, Delani (7) and a second daughter, Laci (3), born on the first day of preseason practices on Aug. 10, 2011.