Jeff Schmedding will take over as Eastern’s defensive coordinator in 2015 after a highly-successful seven-year stint coordinating special teams. The 2015 season will be his 12th year on the coaching staff, and he will coach safeties for the sixth year this season.
His coordination of special teams has been particularly impressive, especially in 2014. Eastern ranked third in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision with four blocked punts, and was 10th in net punting (38.4), 15th in kickoff return average (22.8) and 28th in punt returns (11.8). Jake Miller was a second team All-Big Sky selection as a punter after ending his career with three school records, including single season punting average (44.9 to rank fifth in FCS) and career average (43.8 to rank fifth all-time in FCS). Cooper Kupp earned third team honors as a return specialist and Cody Hecker was honorable mention on special teams. Kicker Tyler McNanny also earned honorable mention after making all 11 of his field goal attempts.
In 2013, Bo Schuetzle earned first team All-Big Sky honors as a special teams player. Kicker Jimmy Pavel earned All-America and first team All-Big Sky honors in 2012 after making 17-of-19 field goal attempts. Also in 2012, Shaq Hill was a Freshman All-American as a kickoff returner, and special teams standout Chase King earned honorable mention all-league honors. Punter Jake Miller earned Freshman All-America accolades in 2011 after finishing with a 44.26 average per kick, which nearly set a school record. Also, kick coverage specialist Darriell Beaumonte earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors in 2010 and second team recognition in 2011.
As a position coach, Schmedding tutored several of the finest safeties in school history. Tevin McDonald earned All-America and first team All-Big Sky Conference accolades in 2014 for the Eagles, then signed a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. Zach Bruce earned honorable mention. Eastern finished with 19 interceptions to rank fifth in FCS, and was 11th in turnovers gained with 28.
In 2013, McDonald earned third team All-Big Sky honors and Allen Brown earned honorable mention. Schmedding’s safeties in 2012 featured Academic All-American Jeff Minnerly, Freshman All-American Jordan Tonani and second team All-Big Sky selection Brown. Tonani also earned honorable mention All-Big Sky honors after Minnerly suffered a broken clavicle early in the year.
In 2010 and 2011, Schmedding coached All-America safety Matt Johnson, who earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors both seasons before being drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Minnerly was honorable mention All-Big Sky both seasons. Schmedding also coached cornerbacks in 2011, a group which included eventual three-time first team All-Big Sky selection T.J. Lee III. In 2010, Eastern led the NCAA Championship Subdivision in interceptions with 26 as EWU won the NCAA Division I title.
Schmedding coached linebackers in 2008 and 2009, including J.C. Sherritt, who in 2009 was named to all six FCS All-America teams and was second in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award given to the top defensive player in the FCS. He set school and Big Sky records with 170 total tackles as he led the FCS with an average of more than 14 stops per game. Sherritt would go on to win the Buck Buchanan Award in 2010.
Schmedding coached safeties in 2007 – including two-time All-Big Sky performer Bryan Jarrett. He previously worked with linebackers (2004), the secondary (2005) and safeties (2006) as a graduate assistant from 2004-06 in his first three seasons at EWU.
He graduated in 2002 from Eastern with his bachelor’s degree in health education and a minor in physical education/coaching. He was a health and fitness teacher at University High School in Spokane Valley for two years, and coached football. He was defensive coordinator and coached linebackers for the Titans in 2002 and 2003.
While he was an EWU undergraduate, he also did his student teaching at U-Hi in 2001 and coached football. In 1999 and 2000 he coached the defensive line, and in 2001 he coached linebackers. The Titans were Greater Spokane League champions in 2000. He also helped coach track and field from 2002-2004.
Schmedding graduated in 1996 from University High School where he was a standout wrestler and football player. He was the runner-up at the State 3A Wrestling Championships in the 215-pound division.
He and his wife Kristine were married in July 2006. Their son, Jack Conrad Schmedding (5), was born on Oct. 27, 2009 – conveniently between EWU’s victories over Montana State on Oct. 24 and Portland State on Oct. 31. A second son, Blake David Schmedding (3), was born on Jan. 27, 2012.