Beau Baldwin
Beau Baldwin
Phone: 509.359.2456
Email: beau.baldwin@ewu.edu
Previous College: Central Washington '96
Position: Head Coach
Experience: 8th Season in 2015
Twitter: @CoachBBaldwin

BEAU BALDWIN QUICK FACTS

Seven Seasons as Head Coach at EWU, 11 Seasons Overall
67-25 Overall (.728 - School Record & 7th-best in Big Sky history)
45-11 Big Sky (.804 - School Record & 5th-best in Big Sky history)

• In his seven years as Eastern’s head coach, the Eagles have ranked in the top 10 in FCS in passing offense six times and total offense four seasons (including 2014). Eastern led the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in passing offense in 2011, averaging 368.5 yards per game, and led the nation in scoring in 2014 (44.1 points per game). In EWU’s last 11 seasons (2004-2014), including 10 with Baldwin on the coaching staff, EWU has ranked in the top 10 in passing nine times and total offense on seven occasions.

• Baldwin has coached six national players of the year at the FCS level – all since 2005. Most recently, Vernon Adams Jr. was selected by College Football Performance Awards as its 2013 FCS Performer of the Year. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell won the 2011 Walter Payton Award, which is presented by The Sports Network to the top offensive player. Erik Meyer won the same award in 2005. Defensive end Greg Peach (2008) and J.C. Sherritt (2010) won the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player. In addition, Cooper Kupp was presented the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in FCS in 2013, and in 2012 Adams was picked by the College Sporting News as its FCS Freshman of the Year.

• Four of his quarterbacks at Eastern have earned a total of seven Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year accolades – Vernon Adams Jr. in 2013 and 2014, Bo Levi Mitchell in 2011, Matt Nichols in 2009 and Erik Meyer in 2004 and 2005. All have earned All-America honors, and Mitchell (2011) and Meyer (2005) won the Walter Payton Award given to the top player in FCS. Adams was the runner-up in 2013 and 2014, and Nichols finished fourth in 2009.

• After guiding Eastern to the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship, Baldwin was honored nationally as the College Sporting News Coach of the Year and the American Football Monthly Coach of the Year. He was also honored regionally by the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) as Coach of the Year. Two years later, he was the 2012 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award and a repeat SWABS winner following EWU’s march to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs. He repeated as Big Sky and SWABS coach of the year in 2013, and in 2014 he was AFCA Region 5 FCS Coach of the Year.

• His 21 seasons as a collegiate coach have included 10 at Central Washington University and 11 at Eastern Washington University. He also played quarterback for four seasons at CWU.

• Has coached on teams that have won two national titles (NCAA Division I in 2010; NAIA in 1995) and nine conference championships (Big Sky Conference in 2004, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014); Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2002; Columbia Football Association in 1998 and 2000).

• Has coached in 26 postseason playoff games (record of 16-9-1), including seven appearances in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (record of 10-6), two appearances in the NCAA Division II Playoffs (record of 2-2) and two appearances in the NAIA Playoffs (record of 4-1-1).

• Received bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University in 1996.

• He is formerly from Tacoma, Wash., and graduated from Curtis High School in 1990. His wife Nicole is from Spokane, Wash., and is a 2001 graduate of Eastern. They have two daughters – Mia Jenae (10) and Macie Patricia (8).

 

Playing Career at Central Wash.

1990-93 - Quarterback - 121-of-197 passes for school-record .614 completion percentage, 1,655 yards and eight touchdowns.

 

Education

Bachelor’s degree in education, Central Washington University, 1996

Graduate of Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash., 1990

 


Beau Baldwin’s Coaching Career

 

Year

School

Coaching Assignment

Head Coach

Record/League

2014

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

>11-3/7-1

2013

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

=12-3/8-0

2012

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

$11-3/7-1

2011

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

6-5/5-3

2010

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

+13-2/7-1

2009

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

*8-4/6-2

2008

Eastern Washington

Head Coach

 

6-5/5-3

Totals as EWU Head Coach (7 seasons)

 

 

 

67-25 (.728)/45-11 (.804)

 
 
 
 
 

2007

Central Washington

Head Coach

 

#10-3/6-2

Totals as Head Coach (8 seasons)

 

 

 

77-28 (.733)/51-13 (.797)

 
 
 
 
 

2006

Eastern Washington

Offensive Coord./QB

Paul Wulff

3-8/3-5

2005

Eastern Washington

Offensive Coord./QB

Paul Wulff

&7-5/5-2

2004

Eastern Washington

Offensive Coord./QB

Paul Wulff

~9-4/6-1

2003

Eastern Washington

Offensive Coord./QB

Paul Wulff

6-5/3-4

Totals as Coach at Eastern (11 seasons)

 

 

 

92-47 (.662)/62-23 (.729)

 
 
 
 
 

2002

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

John Zamberlin

!11-1/3-0

2001

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

John Zamberlin

4-7/1-2

2000

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

John Zamberlin

^5-5/3-1

1999

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

John Zamberlin

4-5/2-2

1998

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

John Zamberlin

@7-4/4-1

1997

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

John Zamberlin

5-4/3-2

1996

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

Jeff Zenisek

5-5/3-2

1995

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

Jeff Zenisek

%10-3-1/4-1

1994

Central Washington

Quarterbacks

Jeff Zenisek

5-4/2-3

Totals as Collegiate Coach (21 seasons)

 

 

 

158-88-1 (.642)/93-39 (.705)

 

> NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (Defeated Montana 37-20, lost to Illinois State 59-46); Big Sky Conference Champions.

= NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (Defeated South Dakota State 41-17, defeated Jacksonville State 35-24, lost to Towson 35-31); Big Sky Conference Champions.

$ NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (Defeated Wagner 29-19, defeated Illinois State 51-35, lost to Sam Houston State 45-52); Big Sky Conference Champions.

+NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Champion (Defeated Southeast Missourl State 37-17, defeated North Dakota State 38-31 in overtime, defeated Villanova 41-31, defeated Delaware 20-19); Big Sky Conference Champions.

*NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (Lost to Stephen F. Austin 44-33).

#NCAA Division II Playoffs (Defeated Ashland 40-24, Defeated Nebraska-Omaha 20-17, lost to Grand Valley State 41-21).

&Big Sky Conference Champions; NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (Lost to Northern Iowa 41-38).

~ Big Sky Conference Champions; NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs (Defeated Southern Illinois 35-31, lost to Sam Houston State 35-34).

!Great Northwest Athletic Conference Champions; NCAA Division II Playoffs (Lost to UC Davis 24-6).

^Columbia Football Association Champions.

@ Columbia Football Association Champions; NAIA Playoffs (Defeated Rocky Mountain 41-38 and Lost to Azusa Pacific 35-28).

%NAIA National Champions (Defeated Western Washington 28-21, Defeated Hardin-Simmons 40-20, Defeated Mary, N.D. 48-7, Tied Findlay 21-21).

 

Baldwin Versus the Big Sky

Includes non-conference, including 2007 loss to North Dakota when he was head coach at CWU

 

Cal Poly

3-0

Idaho State

6-0

Montana

5-3

Montana State

5-2

North Dakota

3-1

Northern Arizona

4-1

Northern Colorado

5-0

Portland State

5-2

Sacramento State

4-1

Southern Utah

4-1

UC Davis

2-0

Weber State

5-1

Totals

51-12

 


EWU Coaching Facts

Best Winning Percentage (Overall) . . . .728 Beau Baldwin (7 seasons, 2008-present, 67-25); previous record .719 Dave Holmes (5 seasons, 1963-67, 34-13-1)

Most Victories (Overall) . . . 89 Dick Zornes (15 seasons, 1979-93)

Best Winning Percentage (Big Sky Conf.) . . . . .804 Beau Baldwin (7 seasons, 2008-14, 45-11); previous record .576 Paul Wulff (8 seasons, 2000-07)

Most Victories (Big Sky) . . . 38 Beau Baldwin (6 seasons, 2008-13); previous record 34 Paul Wulff (8 seasons, 2000-07)

 

Eastern’s Offensive Philosophy Under Head Coach Beau Baldwin

“We have developed, in my opinion, an offense that I can’t even put a name on. We pick some different parts of different offenses and make it our own. We try and mold it around the quarterback to make him be successful. Ultimately, it is an offense with the mindset that we are going to create situations where our quarterback can succeed.”

“We are going to create some situations to get easy completions early, get flow going and allow a quarterback to have some success. What happens then is he is able to gain confidence and make a lot of those tougher throws and those bigger ones. The other thing with quarterbacks is that we have a mentality of really believing in them to build their confidence. You coach them tough and hard, and you have to be critical because we want All-Americans here. But you also want to create a constant confidence, even when things go wrong.”

“We want our quarterbacks to be candidates for All-Big Sky and All-America honors, and for the Walter Payton Award as the best player in the country. If you want them to be as successful as they can possibly be, you have to do as much as you can within your offense. You want to still work within the framework of your offense, but you have to be flexible to get the most success out of your quarterback position. He, in turn, is going to help make the rest of the offense go and be more successful.”

“Whatever we have to do to bring out the best in that quarterback, and ultimately the offense, is what I am going to do. First and foremost we recruit players that are going to fit into what we do for the most part. Every quarterback is going to be a little different where you adjust certain things you call. There are certain plays you are going to call for one guy and less with another. They are all still within the framework of your offense.”

 


Complete Beau Baldwin Bio

The success barometer keeps on getting higher and higher for the Eastern Washington University football program.

Award-winning quarterbacks, highly-efficient offenses, postseason berths, championships and honors have been incredibly plentiful for the Eagles under the direction of head coach Beau Baldwin, including a current three-year stretch which is the best in school history.

Baldwin, the 2014 American Football Coaches Association Region 5 Coach of the Year in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, enters his eighth season as head coach at Eastern with one of the top win-loss records in league history. His .804 winning percentage in league games (45-11) is the best-ever by an Eastern head coach and currently ranks fifth in the 51-year history of the Big Sky. With a 67-25 record overall in six seasons, his .728 percentage is seventh in league history.

On the heels of the 2010 National Championship, the Eagles have followed that with 34 victories from 2012-2014 – winning at least a share of the league title all three seasons. That represents by a landslide – by seven wins – the best three-year stretch of success in the school’s football history. It is also the fourth-best in Big Sky Conference history.

In 11 seasons as either a head coach or assistant at Eastern, Baldwin has been a part of seven playoff teams and five league championships, with 62 league victories and 92 overall.

Statistically, Eastern has annually had one of the top offenses in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. In the last 11 seasons (2004-2014) – including 10 with Baldwin on the coaching staff – EWU has ranked in the top 10 in passing nine times and total offense on seven occasions.

Baldwin has coached six national players of the year at the FCS level – all since 2005 – including five presented by The Sports Network. Most recently, wide receiver Cooper Kupp won the 2013 Jerry Rice Award presented by TSN to the top freshman in the FCS. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell won the 2011 Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the top offensive player by The Sports Network. Erik Meyer won the same award in 2005. Defensive end Greg Peach (2008) and J.C. Sherritt (2010) won the Buck Buchanan Award given by TSN to the top defensive player.

In addition, quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., was picked by the College Sporting News as its FCS Freshman of the Year in 2012. The following season, Adams was runner-up for the Payton Award and was selected by College Performance Awards as its FCS Performer of the Year. He repeated as Payton Award runner-up in 2014.

Eastern won its second-straight outright title in 2014, finishing 7-1 in the league and 11-3 overall en route to a quarterfinal appearance in the FCS Playoffs. As a result, Eastern won its eighth Big Sky title all-time and sixth in 11 seasons. In addition, Baldwin was honored for the first time in his career by the AFCA.

"There are so many moving parts to a football team, so it's a staff of the year award," said Baldwin. "It's actually a team of the year award -- I told our players that. You can direct them all you want and come up with great game plans, but they are out there getting it done. I'm proud of the staff and the work that goes into this type of honor, and I'm proud of our players for helping achieve this on a national level."

As an indication of how much he means to his players, Baldwin was even asked to officiate a wedding. On Feb. 14, 2015, at the Highlands Ranch Mansion in Colorado, he married former Eagle All-America wide receiver Brandon Kaufman and former Eagle soccer player Lauren Jacobsen, who met while they were both at EWU.

Baldwin’s 2013 squad advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs for the second-straight season after going a perfect 8-0 in the Big Sky Conference for the first time in school history. His 2013 team finished 12-3 overall after starting the season with a season-opening 49-46 win at 25th-ranked Oregon State, which was just the fourth time a FCS team has ever defeated a ranked NCAA Football Bowl Division (FBS) team. Baldwin finished sixth in the voting for the 2013 Eddie Robinson Award, given to the national coach of the year in FCS. And for the third time in four years, he was honored regionally by the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) as Coach of the Year.

In 2012, the Eagles finished 11-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Sky Conference to share the league title with two other schools. Baldwin finished fifth in the voting for the Robinson Award, was honored regionally by SWABS as Coach of the Year and for the second time in three seasons EWU was honored as the SWABS Team of the Year.

Baldwin was 6-5 in 2011, 13-2 in 2010 and 8-4 in 2009 after a 6-5 debut season in 2008. In 2007, as head coach at Central Washington, Baldwin was 10-3. He has helped solidify Eastern as one of the premier FCS teams in the nation, as the Eagles are one of only three schools (of 122 playing FCS football) to have made the playoffs at least eight times in the past 11 years (2004-14).

Ever since his high school days when his Curtis High School team in Tacoma, Wash., won the State AAA title, Baldwin has been a part of playoff runs at three collegiate levels – NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, NCAA Division II and NAIA. His 21-season collegiate coaching résumé – all at Eastern Washington or Central Washington – includes two national championships, nine conference championships and a 16-9-1 record in 11 postseason playoff appearances.

Six of his eight seasons as head coach – and two more at Eastern as an assistant – have ended with playoff berths. He had three more berths as a young assistant at Central Washington, including the 1995 NAIA title.

In 2010, Baldwin took 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.

 The 2010 season had a storybook ending for Baldwin after the Eagles finished 13-2 and won the NCAA Division I Championship with a 20-19 come-from-behind victory over Delaware in the title game on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas.

“I’m so happy for all the players in our program, and especially happy for the seniors, because you knew no matter what, it was going to be their last college football game,” Baldwin said of the fantastic finish. “And with the hard work they’ve put in, they deserve to go out as champions, because they work like that. That’s the character they have. And it was fun to watch those guys.”

Baldwin graduated in 1990 from Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash. He earned three letters in football and three in baseball and helped lead Curtis to the 1989 State AAA title in football along with his fellow EWU coach Brian Strandley and former EWU coach Torey Hunter. Eastern offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Aaron Best is a 1996 graduate of Curtis.

Baldwin was born May 21, 1972, in Santa Barbara, Calif. His father, Ken, introduced Beau and his younger brother, Joe, to the sports of baseball, basketball and football. When Beau was in the sixth grade, Ken died of a heart attack at the age of 37, leaving their mother, Pat, to raise the two young boys.

Baldwin and his wife, Nicole, have a girl named, Mia Jenae (10), who was born Dec. 29, 2004. Their second daughter, Macie Patricia (8), was born Nov. 22, 2006. Although spelled differently, Macie received her name because she was born the day before Thanksgiving Day and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade gave her parents the idea.

Nicole (formerly Nicole Monforton) is a graduate of Eastern (bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2001) and Spokane’s Valley Christian High School (1997). She met Beau while working as a graduate student in EWU’s sports information office.


 

Baldwin’s Quarterbacks Have Won Seven League Player of the Year Honors . . .

As a testament to his development of quarterbacks, four of his players have earned a total of seven Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year accolades – Vernon Adams Jr. in 2013 and 2014, Bo Levi Mitchell in 2011, Matt Nichols in 2009 (also in 2007 when Baldwin was at CWU) and Erik Meyer in 2004 and 2005.

All have earned All-America honors, and Mitchell (2011) and Meyer (2005) won the Walter Payton Award given to the top player in FCS. Adams was the runner-up in 2013 and 2014, and Nichols finished fourth in 2009.

Developing top-notch quarterbacks has been a priority – and a specialty – of Baldwin’s through the years.

“We want our quarterbacks to be candidates for All-Big Sky and All-America honors, and for the Walter Payton Award as the best player in the country,” he explained. “If you want them to be as successful as they can possibly be, you have to do as much as you can within your offense. You want to still work within the framework of your offense, but you have to be flexible to get the most success out of your quarterback position. He, in turn, is going to help make the rest of the offense go and be more successful.

“Whatever we have to do to bring out the best in that quarterback, and ultimately the offense, is what we are going to do,” he added. “First and foremost we recruit players that are going to fit into what we do for the most part. Every quarterback is going to be a little different where you adjust certain things you call. There are certain plays you are going to call for one guy and less with another. They are all still within the framework of your offense.”

The end result is an offensive attack that Baldwin himself can’t quite describe exactly.

“We have developed, in my opinion, an offense that I can’t even put a name on,” he explained. “We pick some different parts of different offenses and make it our own. We try and mold it around the quarterback to make him be successful. Ultimately, it is an offense with the mindset that we are going to create situations where our quarterback can succeed.

“We are going to create some situations to get easy completions early, get flow going and allow a quarterback to have some success,” Baldwin continued. “What happens then is he is able to gain confidence and make a lot of those tougher throws and those bigger ones. The other thing with quarterbacks is that we have a mentality of really believing in them to build their confidence. You coach them tough and hard, and you have to be critical because we want All-Americans here. But you also want to create a constant confidence, even when things go wrong.”

In the last two seasons, the Eagles have had their highest-scoring and most prolific offenses in school history, and broke several Big Sky and FCS marks along the way. The Eagles have been ranked in The Sports Network top 25 FCS poll 44-consecutive times, including a final ranking of fourth in 2014.

In 2014, the Eagles broke school and Big Sky records for scoring, finishing the season with 618 points to break the previous record of 592 set in 2013 in 15 games by the Eagles. Eastern scored 84 touchdowns to break school and Big Sky single season records of 83 set in 2013 by EWU. The Eagles established a school record for average points per game, with a mark of 44.1 (first in FCS) that broke the record of 41.9 set in 2001.

The Eagles finished the 2014 season ranked first in FCS in scoring offense (44.1 per game) and first downs (361 total), second in passing efficiency (162.52), third in total offense (513.4) and second in passing offense (328.2). Eastern converted 48.0 percent of the time on third down (97-of-202) to rank seventh, and its red zone offense was second in FCS, scoring 94.9 percent of the time. Cooper Kupp was a unanimous All-America selection for the second-straight season, and finished with a school-record 104 receptions to rank as the second-most in Big Sky history.  

With the most prolific offense in school history, the 2013 Eagles broke 48 school, 23 Big Sky and 12 FCS records. Eastern advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs for the third time in the last four years in 2013, but its season came a victory short of the title game after Towson rallied for a 35-31 victory at Roos Field.

Eastern ranked third in the final regular season and season-ending polls, and was seeded third in the playoffs. But the season was made even more historic by the way it began. Eastern’s 49-46 victory at No. 25 Oregon State on Aug. 31, 2013, was just the fourth time since the division was created in 1978 that a FCS (formerly known as I-AA) team defeated a ranked FBS opponent. The other times that feat occurred came in 1983 (Cincinnati def. #20 Penn State 14-3), 2007 (Appalachian State def. #5 Michigan 34-32) and 2010 (James Madison def. #13 Virginia Tech 21-16).

Eastern finished the 2013 season ranked fourth in FCS in total offense (533.5 per game), fourth in passing (349.8) and seventh in scoring (39.5). Redshirt freshman wide receiver Cooper Kupp accounted for six FCS records, four school marks and one Big Sky record with a sensational debut season of 93 catches for 1,691 yards and 21 touchdowns. He was selected as the recipient of the Jerry Rice Award given to the top freshman in FCS, and also was a unanimous first team All-America selection in FCS.

Eastern had a similar run in 2012, finishing 11-3 overall and winning a share of the league title with Montana State and Cal Poly with a 7-1 Big Sky mark. Seeded second in the FCS Playoffs, Eastern won two home games before falling 45-42 in the semifinals to Sam Houston State at Roos Field in a game that defied logic. After falling behind 35-0 at halftime, Adams came off the bench to throw for a school-record six touchdown passes and nearly pull off the improbable rally.

Adams and Kyle Padron combined to lead EWU to the school record for passing yards. The Eagles finished with 4,469 yards, breaking the previous record of 4,102 in 2005. Each had a school-record six touchdown passes in the playoffs. As a team, EWU finished 14th in FCS in total offense (442.0), seventh in FCS in passing offense (318.9 per game) and 17th in scoring offense (33.7).

 

 

Recruiting State of Washington a Priority – and a Strength . . .

Having spent his entire coaching and playing career in the state of Washington, Baldwin has great knowledge of recruitment within the region and the type of player his program seeks.

“First off, we want to find those student-athletes who fit the right mold from an academic standpoint, a social standpoint and on the field,” he explained. “A lot of times, the on the field part comes easy. There are things you can do when they are between the ages of 18 and 23 to help mold and develop their character. We are going to work hard.

“We’re fortunate to be a great state when it comes to recruiting,” he added. “Some colleges aren’t as fortunate to have that corp of high school players available. I believe that we are going to keep making strides and get better and better. It’s going to be hard work, but I think everybody in our department is willing to work hard to keep us improving.”

There is no better example than two-time All-America linebacker J.C. Sherritt, who now plays for Edmonton in the Canadian Football League. In his sophomore season in the CFL in 2012, he set a new league record for tackles with 130 and was selected as the CFL Most Outstanding Defensive Player. Despite standing just 5-foot-10, the 2006 graduate of Pullman (Wash.) High School won the Buchanan Award as a senior at EWU, and finished with 432 career tackles his 47-game career (35 as a starter).

“There is a lot of self-motivation and leadership to go from average to good and from good to great,” said Baldwin. “The development of players that we’ve had here is not just a compliment to the coaches, but a compliment to their experienced teammates because they demonstrate to other players how to develop. It’s not just about the three months of the season – it’s 365 days a year.”

 

 

Entire Coaching Career Spent at Eastern or Central . . .

A 1996 graduate of Central Washington, Baldwin’s entire 25-year career as a player and coach has been spent at either CWU or EWU. His record in 21 seasons as a collegiate coach is 158-88-1 (.642) with a 93-39 league mark (.705).

Baldwin first came to Eastern in 2003 and spent four seasons in EWU’s program as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. After helping lead the Eagles to FCS Playoff appearances in 2004 and 2005, Baldwin led Central to the 2007 NCAA Division II Playoffs. Baldwin then returned to become EWU’s 20th head football coach and lead the school in its 100th football campaign in his debut season in 2008. He followed that 6-5 season with an 8-4 record and a FCS playoff berth in 2009.

In his debut season, Eastern ranked seventh nationally in passing (299.9 per game) and 23rd in total offense (398.5). Individually, national awards candidates Greg Peach and Matt Nichols led the way. Peach, who would go on to win the Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in the FCS, led the nation in sacks (1.64 per game) and tackles for loss (2.1). Nichols, a candidate for the Payton Award given to the top offensive player, ranked fifth in total offense (306.9) and sixth in passing offense (299.4).

That team finished 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky Conference, and set the tone for what the Eagles would accomplish in 2009.

Eastern finished the 2009 season 8-4 and advanced to the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons. The Eagles finished as the runner-up in the Big Sky Conference with a 6-2 mark, winning their last four regular season games by a combined 172-107 margin. Fighting injuries and fatigue from the long season, Eastern’s run came to an end with a 44-33 playoff loss at Stephen F. Austin.

The Eagles finished the season ranked 13th in the final NCAA FCS Sports Network Poll, and was also ranked 13th in the FCS Coaches poll and the AGS/anygivensaturday.com poll.

In the magical 2010 season, the Eagles won their final 11 games and won the league title with a 7-1 Big Sky Conference record. Thousands of Eastern fans were on hand for the title game in Frisco, Texas, and thousands more watched the victory over Delaware via a national broadcast on ESPN2.

“In that type of ballgame against an incredibly talented and great Delaware team, it came down to those guys on the field,” said Baldwin of his squad, which included just two senior starters on offense and four more on defense. “Those guys just never quit fighting.”

 “Winning the championship means a ton for Eastern Washington University as a whole, and it means a lot for the community of Cheney, the City of Spokane, and so many supporters,” Baldwin explained. “And it means a lot to a lot of people that were in Frisco supporting us. It was so electrifying to drive into the parking lot at the stadium and see all our fans all in red tailgating and having fun. That gave us energy and gave us a spark, and it was exciting to see. I just want to thank everyone for that support, because like I said, it’s huge, and there are so many people that have allowed us to be in this position.”

As a result, Baldwin was honored nationally as the College Sporting News Coach of the Year and the American Football Monthly Coach of the Year. He was also a Liberty Mutual FCS Coach of the Year finalist, as well as for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award presented by The Sports Network.

He was also honored regionally by the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS) as Coach of the Year. Baldwin was only the fifth Eastern coach to be recognized in the more than 60-year history of the awards, which were first presented in 1948. Previous Eastern coaches honored were football coaches Dave Holmes (1967) and Dick Zornes (1992), as well as wrestling coach Curt Byrnes (1977) and basketball coach Ray Giacoletti (2004).

The Eagles were selected as the “Sports Story of the Year” at the prestigious 77th Annual Sports Star of the Year presented by Root Sports in Seattle, Wash. The team was also honored by SWABS as Team of the Year, marking only the second time an Eastern team has been honored since the awards were first presented in 1948. The 1967 football team, which was the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) runner-up that season, was the only other team to be honored.

And besides the awards and many speaking engagements that came as a result of the title, Baldwin was given the opportunity on April 9, 2011, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for his favorite boyhood baseball team, the Seattle Mariners. A three-year letter winner as a baseball player and a quarterback in high school, Baldwin threw a perfect strike at Safeco Field in Seattle, Wash.

 
 

Thanks to Mitchell’s Arm, Eagles Finish 8-0 on New Red Turf in 2010 and Win National Title . . .

Bo Levi Mitchell has been nothing short of magical since helping the Eagles win the 2010 NCAA Division I title when he passed for three touchdowns in the final 16:48 to lead EWU past Delaware 20-19 in the championship game on Jan. 7, 2011, in Frisco, Texas. He was the game’s Most Outstanding Player, an honor he duplicated on Nov. 30, 2014, when he led the Calgary Stampeders to the Grey Cup title by completing 25 of 34 passes for 334 yards to earn game MVP honors.

Mitchell entered the 2015 CFL season 16-2 as a starter for the Stampeders after going 19-7 as an Eagle. He also led Katy, Texas, High School to an undefeated season and a state championship in 2007. Mitchell transferred to EWU from Southern Methodist University following the 2009 season.

Baldwin and the Eagles finished a perfect 8-0 in 2010 on the new red Sprinturf surface at Roos Field (formerly Woodward Field) in Cheney, Wash. The red surface – the first of its kind – was funded by private donations, including a $500,000 gift by former Eagle offensive lineman and retired Tennessee Titan Michael Roos. Three of the victories at the “Inferno” were in the FCS Playoffs as EWU defeated Southeast Missouri State 37-17, edged North Dakota State 38-31 in overtime and advanced to the title tilt with a 41-31 win over defending champion Villanova in the semifinals.

Mitchell completed 29-of-43 passes for 302 yards in the title game, and directed EWU on scoring drives of 80 (5 plays), 89 (14 plays) and 63 yards (8 plays) – all in the final 16:48 of the game. Eastern won six games in the 2010 season when it trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter. But the magical championship game victory was by far the largest deficit the Eagles faced in those six games, and the most gratifying.

“It’s not so much magical as it’s just a lot of guys believing in each other even in the toughest of situations,” said Baldwin of the comebacks. “That’s the key. You can’t stop believing no matter how grim it feels, otherwise you’ll never have a chance to operate in those situations.”

Eastern ended the 2010 season ranked No. 1 in both FCS polls, and entered the 2011 season ranked that way as well.

But Baldwin’s 2011 squad was ravaged by injuries and missed the playoffs despite six victories in the last seven games of the season. Facing an extremely difficult early-season schedule, the Eagles opened the season by nearly defeating Washington of the Pac-12 Conference before falling 30-27. That performance actually solidified Eastern as the No. 1-ranked team in FCS.

But injuries began to pile up – a total of 14 starters (seven on each side of the ball) suffered injuries that kept them out of the lineup, including seven lost for the season. However, the Eagles responded from the injuries and a 0-4 start to record yet another winning season. In fact, EWU has now had 17 winning seasons in its last 19 campaigns (1996-2014).

Mitchell won the 2011 Walter Payton Award presented by The Sports Network to the top player in the NCAA Championship Subdivision. In 2011, Mitchell led the FCS in four categories, including passing yards (4,009) and touchdown passes (33) on his way to breaking four school records. He broke EWU’s record for single season passing yards with 4,009, which ranked 17th in FCS history and fifth in Big Sky Conference history at the time.

As a team in 2011, the Eagles were first in FCS in passing with an average of 368.5 per game, and were sixth overall in total offense (447.4) and 22nd in scoring (32.4).

“He really had an amazing career here,” said Baldwin. “It’s a compliment to his work ethic and his ability to pick-up a new system. He had the talent and basically just evolved within our system and kept getting better. Even though our 2011 record wasn’t what we wanted, he kept finding a way to improve and get better every week all the way until the end of the season. That says a lot about his mentality, his competitiveness and his overall drive.”

Adams redshirted in 2011, but then burst onto the scene in 2012 to earn Freshman All-America honors. Before he departed EWU following his junior season, Adams had a school and Big Sky Conference record 110 touchdown passes in his career to rank 10th all-time in FCS history. He finished ranked No. 2 in FCS, Big Sky and EWU history with a 173.8 career passing efficiency rating (64.8 percent completion rate, 10,438 yards, 110 TD, 31 interceptions).

Adams also moved into second in school history for passing yards with a total of 10,438, but coming short of the school and Big Sky records of 12,616 yards held by former Eagle Matt Nichols (2006-09). Adams finished his career 28-6 as a starter – the most for an Eagle all-time.

 
 

Before Mitchell and Adams, Baldwin Tutored Nichols, Meyer and a trio of Talented CWU Quarterbacks . . .

Prior to the record-breaking careers of Bo Levi Mitchell (2010-11) and Vernon Adams Jr. (2012-2014, Baldwin coached two more of the greatest quarterbacks in school, Big Sky and NCAA FCS history – Erik Meyer (2002-2005) and Matt Nichols (2006-2009). While at Central Washington, Baldwin coached three of its all-time greats – NFL veteran Jon Kitna, current Eastern assistant coach Zak Hill and Mike Reilly.

In 2009, Nichols earned prestigious first team NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-America honors from the American Football Coaches Association, as well as three other All-America honors. He finished fourth in the voting for the Payton Award given to the top player in the FCS, and was also the Big Sky’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career.

He broke 14 school records and six Big Sky Conference marks in his 47-game career (45 as a starter) before playing in the East-West Shrine Game and signing a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys (he is now with Edmonton in the CFL). He passed for 3,830 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior, giving him a total of 12,616 yards and 96 touchdowns in his career. At the time, his career yardage total ranked sixth in FCS history and his touchdown total was 10th. Nichols never missed a game or practice in his collegiate career.

“It just shows his toughness and longevity,” said Baldwin. “A record like that shows a lot of things. A lot of players have talent but get hurt along the way, or this or that, but Matt was constant and was one of those guys week-in and week-out who just brought it. He deserved the records – he worked hard to get them and I am really proud of him.”

Nichols completed a career-best 65 percent of his passes in 2009 to give him a passing efficiency rating of 156.5 to rank eighth in the FCS. He was fifth in total offense (327.7 per game) and third in passing offense (319.2). As a team, the Eagles finished the 2009 season ranked in the top 10 in four offensive categories in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, including passing (3rd, 321.3), total offense (4th, 462.2), scoring (8th, 33.7) and passing efficiency (4th, 154.5).

As a junior in 2008 – Baldwin’s first season as EWU’s head coach – Nichols earned honorable mention All-BSC honors as he ranked sixth nationally in passing (299.4) and fifth in total offense (306.9). Eastern ranked seventh nationally in passing (299.9 per game) and 23rd in total offense (398.5).

Nichols had a school-record 17 interceptions as a freshman when a youthful Eastern team finished just 3-8. In that learning season, Eastern was 75th in the FCS in total offense (310.3 yards per game), 34th in passing (201.9) and 77th in scoring (19.5). The following season, a more experienced EWU team advanced to the 2007 FCS Playoffs as Nichols won Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors and threw a school-record 34 touchdown passes.

 “He helped improve my mechanics, my footwork and my accuracy,” Nichols said of Baldwin. “He took me from being a high school quarterback and helped me become a college quarterback. He’s a great coach.”

In 2004 and 2005 with Baldwin as coordinator, Eastern had one of the best offenses in the nation thanks to the arm and legs of Meyer. In 2005, the Eagles averaged 477.8 yards per game to rank fourth nationally, and were 13th in scoring (35.0). A year earlier, the Eagles averaged 475.5 yards (fourth) and 37.5 points per game (sixth). Eastern also ranked in the top 10 nationally both years in passing offense and passing efficiency.

Meyer had 84 touchdown passes with just 17 interceptions in his career to set a FCS record for passing efficiency (166.47). The All-American broke 14 school records and two Big Sky marks as he was twice selected as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year before winning the Payton Award as the top player in the FCS.

In Baldwin’s first season at EWU in 2003, the Eagles ranked 28th in FCS in scoring (31.27) and were 47th in offense (380.0).

“Our success at quarterback is partially because of us seeing attributes in players that others did not see as much,” Baldwin explained. “I didn’t recruit Erik Meyer, but I was able to be here when he was still raw and untapped and developing as a quarterback. There is a lot of diligence required in developing players and teaching them how to continue to develop on their own. They need to do the right thing even when coaches are not looking, whether it is film study, extra footwork or whatever else it might be. I think that is part of the process.

“Even when Bo Levi Mitchell came from SMU there was a developmental process that took place with him,” he continued. “Obviously, Coach Zak Hill has a huge impact on that. He does a lot of the same things I was doing here at Eastern when I was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator with Erik and at the beginning of Matt Nichols’ career. You can’t just toss a ball and say go throw for three hundred yards. Some of the little individual things and small details are lost in some places, but that is something we don’t lose here. That is true at other positions as well, but it has definitely showed up at quarterback.”

 
 

Baldwin Takes Over Highly-Successful Program From Paul Wulff . . .

Baldwin took over an Eastern football program that advanced to the FCS Playoffs three out of the previous four seasons under Paul Wulff, who left Eastern in December 2007 for the head coaching position at Washington State University. Eastern was 9-4 in 2007 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the playoffs behind an offense that included sophomore starter Matt Nichols at quarterback and three sophomore starters at wide receiver.

At the same time, Baldwin was guiding Central Washington to a nearly identical successful season.

In 2007, both the Eagles and Wildcats finished the season among the top eight teams in their respective classifications. On Nov. 24, 2007, the Wildcats scored two touchdowns in the final 2:49 to upset previously undefeated and top-seeded Nebraska-Omaha 20-17 in the second round. In the quarterfinals on Dec. 1, Central lost to No. 1 ranked and two-time defending champion Grand Valley State 41-21.

On those very same days in the FCS Playoffs, Eastern had a similar fate. The Eagles opened the playoffs on Nov. 24 by handing second-seeded and No. 3 ranked McNeese State its first loss of the season with an overwhelming 44-15 victory. Eastern was then edged 38-35 by two-time defending champion Appalachian State in the quarterfinals on Dec. 1.

The Wildcats averaged 398.5 yards of total offense per game in 2007, including an average of 263.5 passing. Central averaged 31.4 points per game, including five games with at least 40 points.

Baldwin’s quarterback was Mike Reilly, who was one of 24 national candidates for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the top player in Division II football. He earned All-Region honors after completing 62 percent of his passes for 3,386 yards, 30 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions for a passing efficiency rating of 145.8.

Baldwin, a quarterback himself at CWU and a former teammate of NFL starter Jon Kitna, watched from 2 1/2 hours away in Ellensburg, Wash., as Eastern and Nichols produced similar statistics in 2007. The Eagles finished the season with an average of 462.3 yards of offense per game (sixth in FCS), including 295.4 passing (eighth).

 
 

Two-Time Team Captain Was Backup Behind NFL Standout Jon Kitna . . .

Before coming to EWU, Baldwin spent nine seasons at CWU with positions as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator. A 1996 graduate of CWU, he served seven years under head coach John Zamberlin, a former EWU assistant coach who later became head coach at Idaho State.

A former Wildcat quarterback from 1990-93, Baldwin passed along his knowledge to two of the greatest quarterbacks in CWU history en route to two of the school’s best-ever seasons. He was quarterbacks coach in 1994-95 when All-American Jon Kitna was in Ellensburg, leading CWU to a 10-3-1 record and the NAIA Championship in 1995. The Wildcats also advanced to the NAIA Playoffs in 1998.

Baldwin also coached All-American Zak Hill – now an assistant coach at EWU – as the Wildcats finished the 2002 season 11-1. Central ranked fifth in NCAA Division II before losing in the first round of the playoffs.

In six of his nine seasons at CWU, the Wildcats led their conference in passing and were at least second in scoring and total offense. In 2002, Central ranked second in NCAA Division II in passing offense (315 yards per game) and was fourth in total offense (465) and 11th in scoring (36.8).

As a player, Baldwin was a two-time team captain and completed 121-of-197 passes for 1,655 yards and eight touchdowns. His career completion percentage of .614 is a school record. In a 38-35 win versus Simon Fraser in 1991, he set single-game school records for attempts (52), completions (32), yards (467), total plays (66) and total yards (550). He had a 6-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left to give the Wildcats the win.

A year later, Baldwin came off the bench to lead CWU to the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in Columbia Football Association history. He completed 21-of-33 passes for 222 yards as the Wildcats scored 26 points in the final quarter to overcome a 28-3 deficit and defeat Eastern Oregon 29-28.

Nearly 20 years later, Baldwin found himself with a headset on in similar situations in the FCS Playoffs. In a 38-31 overtime victory in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs against North Dakota State on Dec. 11, 2010, the Eagles put together a 13-play, 90-yard drive to knot the score with 23 seconds to play. Eastern, which won six games during the 2010 season when it trailed or was tied in the fourth quarter, was in a 19-0 hole in the NCAA Division I Championship Game in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 7, 2011. But Baldwin’s “calm intensity,” as his long-time assistant John Graham calls it, helped result in three EWU touchdowns in its final three possessions as the Eagles beat Delaware 20-19 for the national title.

Baldwin was a backup to Kitna in his final two seasons as a collegiate player, then spent a short time playing semi-pro football in Sweden. He played in a league that allowed only two American players each, and they were also required to serve as assistant coaches, thus giving Baldwin the new opportunity of creating plays and a game plan. Upon his return to the United States, Baldwin then coached Kitna for two more seasons, including the national title year in 1995. Kitna went on to play 15 seasons in the National Football League, with stops in Seattle, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas.

The 1995 Central team was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2005, and the 2002 squad followed in 2013.

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