A former Eagle who went from walk-on to national champion and All-American in just three years’ time, Nicholas Edwards is in his second season as EWU’s wide receivers coach. In his first year, one of his school records fell to one of the players he coached.
Edwards began his duties on March 17, 2014. The unanimous 2011 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision first team All-American was set to attend training camp with the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in May of that year, but passed on that opportunity to begin his coaching career.
Three of his receivers earned All-Big Sky Conference accolades, including consensus NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America selection Cooper Kupp. Kupp earned first team all-league honors after catching 104 passes to break the previous school record of 95 set by Edwards in 2011. Shaq Hill (third team) and Kendrick Bourne (honorable mention) were also honored by the league after EWU led FCS in scoring (44.1 per game) and was third in total offense (513.4) and second in passing offense (328.6).
Edwards took the place of his former position coach, Junior Adams, who resigned to become wide receivers coach at Boise State. In between stints trying to find a home in professional football with the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, Edwards served at EWU in fall of 2013 as a strength and conditioning assistant after receiving his bachelor’s degree in recreation management from Eastern in 2012.
A walk-on when he first came to Eastern, Edwards started 45 of the 50 games in his career, and played in all 38 EWU games his first three seasons until a knee injury sidelined him for part of his senior season.
He finished his career with 215 catches to rank fourth in school history and his 33 TD receptions were second (the record is 46). He finished fifth all-time in Eastern history in receiving yards with 2,634, and was sixth in points scored with 202.
As a junior in 2011, Edwards was selected to nine NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America teams – including seven first team selections – after catching a school-record 95 passes for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns to lead the FCS.
Among the receivers he played with as a senior in 2012 were two players he coached in 2014 -- Cory Mitchell and Shaq Hill. Also on the roster with him in 2012 was redshirt Cooper Kupp, who became a unanimous All-American in 2013 and won the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in FCS. Kupp had 21 receiving touchdowns to break Edwards’ record of 19, but his 93 catches were two shy of the record of 95 owned by Edwards.
Edwards helped Eastern win the 2010 NCAA Division I title as a sophomore when he started all 15 games and had 57 catches for 614 yards and seven touchdowns. His quarterback on that team, as well as 2011, was Cory Mitchell’s younger brother Bo Levi Mitchell, who is now with the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. Cory is also now with the Stampeders.
Edwards was born Dec. 23, 1989. He and his wife, Macca, were married on June 26, 2011.