Jan. 17, 2008
New Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin has filled his coaching staff with some familiar names, including five coaches with previous EWU coaching experience and three from his former school, Central Washington University.
Baldwin, who was named as EWU's head coach on Jan. 4, said coaching carryovers from EWU's staff from last year will include Joe Wade, Chris Hansen, Jeff Schmedding and Chris Peterson, while Aaron Best returns after one year away. The new additions from CWU include John Graham, Ryan Sawyer and Torey Hunter.
"I'm very excited about the group we've been able to assemble," said Baldwin. "Our staff is a combination of great coaches and great people. In working with them all in the past, I know they not only have the ability to coach and teach, but I also know they have the ability to relate to our student-athletes."
Wade will take over as offensive coordinator and will also coach quarterbacks. Hansen, a cornerbacks coach last year, will coach tight ends and handle administrative duties such as recruiting and helping with coordination of summer camps. Schmedding will move from safeties to linebackers and Peterson will move from running backs to wide receivers. Schmedding ad Peterson will co-coordinate special teams.
Best, a former EWU All-America center who spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach with the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League, will return for his eighth season as an EWU offensive line coach.
Graham will be the team's defensive coordinator after spending the last 13 seasons at Central. Sawyer will coach the defensive line and Hunter will direct EWU defensive backs.
Besides Hansen taking over coordination of recruiting, other administrative duties will be handled by Best (academics), Peterson (camps), Hunter (travel), Schmedding (video) and Wade (pro football liaison).
"Even after our first week together, I can tell our staff is gelling," added Baldwin of the mix of Eastern and Central coaches. "I'm very fortunate to have a group of coaches who are loyal and that I can trust. That's something I feel strongly about."
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Pro Football Liaison
Wade takes over as offensive coordinator in the 2008 season after highly-successful stints as coach of EWU's talented running back and wide receiver corps the past eight seasons at EWU. He will also continue to serve as EWU's liaison with professional football teams and scouts.
In 2007, Wade helped EWU average 295.4 yards passing/receiving per game that ranked eighth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision. Eastern also averaged 462.3 yards of total offense to rank sixth and 33.6 points per game to rank 18th. Sophomore All-America wide receiver Aaron Boyce finished the year with 85 catches for 1,308 yards and 10 touchdowns, and three other wide receivers had at least 35 catches each.
Prior to that, Wade coached running backs the previous seven seasons. Among the players he coached were the top two ground gainers and touchdown producers in school history. Eastern had four 1,000-yard rushers in those seven seasons.
In 2005, Oregon State transfer Ryan Cole came up short with 879 yards, but Eastern's offense ranked fourth in the FCS in total offense (477.8 per game) and 14th in scoring (35.0). In 2004, first team All-Big Sky Conference running back Darius Washington finished with 1,127 yards in leading Eastern to a 9-4 record and co-Big Sky Conference title. Eastern's offense was one of the best in the nation, ranking fourth nationally with an average of 475.5 yards of total offense per game and 37.5 points per game to rank sixth.
In his first three seasons at EWU, Wade coached standouts Jesse Chatman and Jovan Griffith, who rank first and second, respectively, on Eastern's all-time rushing yards list. Chatman finished his EWU career with school records of 4,173 yards and 53 touchdowns, and Griffith had 3,320 yards and 33 TDs.
In 2002, Griffith rushed for 1,130 yards, and a year earlier, Chatman led FCS by rushing for 2,096 yards. Eastern led the Big Sky and ranked 12th nationally in rushing in 2001 with an average of 225.4 yards per game and led the nation in total offense (514.5) and scoring (41.9).
Previously, Wade was running backs coach at Montana State in 1999. A 1991 graduate of Linfield College in Oregon, he spent the 1998 season as secondary coach at Connecticut. Prior to that, he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Fresno City College for three seasons. He also coached receivers at San Francisco State for two seasons and spent a year as quarterbacks coach at Cal State-Hayward.
Wade was a quarterback at Linfield College, which won the 1986 NAIA football championship while he was there. He received his bachelor's degree in 1991.
Wade was born Jan. 23, 1968.
Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
Eastern Washington, `91
A true veteran of the Eagle coaching staff, Chris Hansen has been a part of the EWU program for 10 years since the mid-1980s. He takes over as tight ends coach in 2008 after spending 2003-07 as coach of Eagle cornerbacks. A volunteer assistant in the secondary in 2002 and 2003, Hansen is also recruiting coordinator and will help run EWU summer camps.
Hansen's group of cornerbacks in 2007 included honorable mention All-Big Sky selection Ira Jarmon, who finished with 77 tackles, three interceptions and seven passes broken up. Eastern finished the year with 22 interceptions to rank third in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision and forced a total of 33 turnovers to help the Eagles rank 21st in turnover margin.
Eastern's 2005 team featured a pair of senior cornerbacks in Jesse Hendrix (first team All-Big Sky) and Isaiah Trufant (missed six games with an ankle injury). They combined for 16 interceptions, 65 passes broken up and 287 total tackles in their Eagle careers. That duo had a combined 85 games of experience, including 69 career starts.
In 2004, Hansen coached three All-Big Sky cornerbacks in Trufant (first team), Ryan Phillips (first team) and Hendrix (honorable mention). Phillips is now playing for the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League, and Trufant and Hendrix played for the Spokane Shock in arenafootball2 in 2006. In 2007, Trufant played with the Kansas City Brigade in Arena Football and Hendrix was with the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL.
Hansen played one season at Eastern Washington in 1983, finishing with 25 tackles as an outside linebacker for a team that lost its first five games of the season and won its last five. Before that he played the 1980 and 1981 seasons at Spokane Falls Community College and spent one season as a non-lettering walk-on at Washington State in 1982.
He eventually returned to Eastern as an assistant coach in 1988 and spent three seasons as a student assistant under head coach Dick Zornes. He coached safeties his first year - including former NFL standout Kurt Schulz - then coached tight ends the following two seasons.
After receiving his bachelor's degree from Eastern in secondary education in 1991, he returned to coach and teach at his alma mater - Liberty High School in Spangle, Wash. - for seven years. He coached football, basketball and track, serving as an assistant when Liberty won the 1992 State B title in football. He was head coach of the girls' track team that won the 1993 State B championship.
He received his master's degree from Gonzaga University in 1996, then returned to Eastern in 2002 as a volunteer assistant coach.
Hansen is a 1979 graduate of Liberty High School in Spangle, Wash. He was born April 10, 1961, in Morristown, N.J. His younger brother Aaron Hansen played for the Eagles from 1987-90 and was an All-Big Sky Conference defensive end. He finished with 25 sacks and had 207 career tackles.
Wide Receivers/Co-Special Teams Coordinator/Camps Coordinator
Cal Poly, `04
A starter at quarterback at Cal Poly earlier this decade, Peterson spent his first season at EWU in 2007 coaching running backs. In 2008, he takes over EWU's talented, young group of wide receivers. He will also serve as co-coordinator of EWU special teams and as director of EWU's highly-successful summer camp program.
Peterson coached Dale Morris in 2007, helping the injury-plagued junior rush for a total of 930 yards. Morris had three 100-yard games, including 130 and four touchdowns in EWU's 44-15 thrashing of McNeese State in the first round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Eastern ranked 50th in FCS in rushing (166.8), helping EWU rank sixth in total offense (462.3) and 18th in scoring (33.6).
Peterson spent the previous three seasons at Idaho, first serving as a graduate assistant for two years under Nick Holt, who is now defensive coordinator at USC. He served in the same capacity in 2006 under Dennis Erickson, who left Idaho after one year to become head coach at Arizona State.
While he was at Idaho, Peterson helped coach the offensive line, quarterbacks, wide receivers and special teams. He received his master's degree in education in May 2007 from the UI.
He received his bachelor's degree in speech communication from Cal Poly in 2004 after playing three seasons at quarterback for the Mustangs. He finished his career ranked in the top 10 in school history for passing yards, touchdowns and completions.
In 2003 as a senior co-captain at Cal Poly, he was nominated for NCAA Championship Subdivision Independent Offensive Player of the Year honors. His 148.4 passing efficiency rating ranked 10th in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision as he led the Mustangs to a 7-4 record. He previously attended Tulane University for two years before transferring to Cal Poly.
Formerly from Newport Beach, Calif., Peterson graduated from Loyola High School in Los Angeles in 1999. He was born Nov. 13, 1980.
Linebackers/Co-Special Teams Coordinator/Video Coordinator
Eastern Washington, `02
The 2008 season will be Jeff Schmedding's fourth year on the Eastern Washington coaching staff as he takes over as linebackers coach and will continue as video coordinator. He will also serve as co-coordinator of EWU special teams.
Schmedding coached safeties in 2007 and is the process of completing his master's degree. He previously worked with linebackers (2005) and the secondary (2004) as a graduate assistant in his first two 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 heavyweight division.
Offensive Linemen/Academic Coordinator
Eastern Washington `01
Aaron Best returns in 2008 for his 13th year as an Eagle, including five years as an All-America center (1995-99) and seven previous seasons as an assistant coach (2000-2006). An academic honor student while as an undergraduate at Eastern, Best will also handle the team's academic coordinator duties.
Best spent the 2007 season as an offensive line specialist for the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League.
Best helped the Argonauts win the Eastern Division championship with an 11-7 record before losing in the first round of the playoffs. Although Toronto was last in the league in total offense, Best's offensive line ranked third in fewest sacks allowed with 40. Eastern Hall of Fame member Bill Diedrick Jr., was also an offensive coach for the Argonauts.
Best was a guest coach at Toronto's training camp in May 2007, then was asked to return as a full-time coach in July. In 2006, he attended Calgary Stampeders training camp as a guest coach to offensive coordinator Steve Buratto, who graduated from the University of Idaho and spent the 2007 season coaching in Toronto.
In his previous stint at Eastern, Best had the opportunity to coach two All-Americans in the 2004 season and another in 2005. He was the school's primary offensive line coach from 2002-2006 after previously helping coach that unit as a graduate assistant in 2001 and as a student assistant in 2000.
Matt Alfred earned All-America honors in 2005, and he was recognized on the All-Big Sky squad along with Kraig Sigler and Rocky Hanni. All five of Eastern's starting offensive linemen earned All-Big Sky Conference honors in 2004, including first team selections Michael Roos and Rocky Hanni. Both players went on to earn All-America honors, with Roos also being selected as the Lineman of the Year by I-AA.Org.
Roos played in the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, and was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. He became the highest NFL draft choice in school history when he was chosen in the second round - 41st overall - by the Tennessee Titans in 2005. He started his last 35 games as an Eagle and has a current streak of 61-straight starts (including 48 regular season games, 12 in the preseason and one playoff contest) entering Tennessee's 2008 season.
Eastern's offensive lines helped the Eagles rank fourth in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in total offense in both 2004 and 2005. In 2005 the Eagles averaged 477.8 yards per game, and were 14th in scoring (35.0). A year earlier the Eagles averaged 475.5 yards and 37.5 points per game to rank sixth.
In 2003, Eastern averaged 380.0 yards per game and ranked 21st in FCS in passing offense (247.3). In 2002 the Eagles finished third nationally in passing offense (317.6) and were sixth in total offense (447.6) a year after leading FCS in total offense and scoring.
Best started 22 straight games at center for Eastern in 1998 and 1999, earning honorable mention All-Big Sky honors as a junior and first team honors as a senior. He also earned honorable mention All-America honors his final season.
An outstanding student with a 3.3 grade point average, as a senior he was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII team and was selected to the FCS Athletic Directors Academic All-Star Team. Twice he was selected to the Big Sky All-Academic team. He received his bachelor's degree in social science from EWU in 2001 and is currently working toward his master's degree in physical education.
He was Eastern's long-snapper for four seasons and was a backup lineman in 1997 when Eastern led NCAA Division I-AA in total offense (505.6 yards per game). That team finished 12-2 and advanced to the I-AA "Final Four." The Eagles were 31-16 in the four seasons Best played for the Eagles, and the Eagles had a 1,000-yard rusher each year - a streak that reached eight straight seasons until it was broken in 2003.
Best graduated in 1996 from Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash., where he had a 3.75 grade point average. He was co-captain his senior season as Curtis won the State AAA championship. His brother Tyler Best was a starting catcher for the Lewis-Clark State baseball team, which won its second straight NAIA World Series title in 2003. He also played at L-C again in 2004 before being taken by Oakland in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball draft.
Best was born Jan. 27, 1978, in Tacoma, Wash.
Central Washington '92
After spending 13 seasons at Central Washington University, Graham comes to Eastern as the school's new defensive coordinator.
A graduate of nearby Reardan High School, Graham spent his last 12 seasons at Central as the defensive coordinator while coaching defensive backs and linebackers. He also served as secondary coach in 1995 and for a three-month period in 1997 served as interim head coach. He has also served as recruiting coordinator, travel coordinator and camp coordinator at different times during his tenure, as well as serving as an assistant to the athletic director in charge of fund-raising and the department's alumni golf tournament.
As a defensive coordinator, Graham has helped coach Central to an 89-51 overall record with five conference championships and the NAIA title in 1995. As a defensive backs coach, two Wildcats earned All-America honors, three were conference defensive players of the year and 18 earned first team all-conference accolades.
Graham spent two previous seasons (1993-94) as head coach at DeSales High School in Walla Walla, Wash., where his teams compiled a 13-6 record overall and 8-2 mark in league play. In 1993, his team was undefeated in the league and advanced to the semifinals of the State B Playoffs as he earned Southeast District 9 coach of the year honors. He also served as athletic director and as an assistant basketball and track and field coach at DeSales. In addition, he spent one year (1992) as an assistant coach at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Wash.
Graham is a 1992 graduate of CWU, earning a bachelor of science degree in business education. He played as defensive back for the Wildcats in 1990 and 1991, earning honorable mention all-conference honors as a senior. In 1991, Graham had 30 tackles and three interceptions. Prior to enrolling at CWU, he played two seasons at Walla Walla CC where he earned first team all-conference honors as a defensive back and received his associate of arts degree in 1989.
Graham graduated from Reardan High School in 1987. He earned four letters each in football, basketball and track. He was a three-time all-league linebacker and two-time all-league quarterback, as well as serving as team captain and earning most inspirational honors. He was student body president at Reardan.
Graham was born on Feb. 7, 1969, in Ellensburg.
Defensive Backs/Travel Coordinator
Washington State, '03
A former standout defensive back at Washington State University, Hunter enters his first season on EWU's staff as defensive backs coach after spending the 2007 coaching wide receivers for Beau Baldwin at Central Washington. He will also take on additional duties as EWU's travel coordinator.
From 2003-2006, Hunter was cornerbacks coach at Idaho State where he served under Bengals head coach Larry Lewis and defensive coordinator John Ely. Prior to that, Hunter coached the secondary under Ely at Western Washington in 2002.
Hunter played at Washington State University and was selected in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. Hunter played in 12 games for the Oilers, and then spent the 1996 season with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. He played professionally for 11 years, including the 2002 season in the Arena Football League for the Detroit Fury. He also played in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes (1997-1998, 2001) and the Edmonton Eskimos (1999-2001). He earned CFL All-Eastern Conference honors in 1997.
Hunter played at WSU from 1990-94, starting and earning All-Pacific 10 Conference honors all four years. He participated in the 1995 Senior Bowl and helped lead Washington State to bowl victories in the Alamo Bowl (1994) and Copper Bowl (1992). He eventually earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from WSU, where he was president and vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Board. He was also co-founder of the Cougar Athlete Resource Enrichment peer mentoring organization and did an internship in 1999 that helped raise funds for renovation of the school's athletic facilities.
Hunter attended Curtis High School in Tacoma, Wash. -- the same school fellow Eastern coaches Beau Baldwin ('90) and Aaron Best ('96) attended. Hunter served as senior class president as well as three years on student council. He and his classmate Baldwin helped lead Curtis to the 1989 State AAA football title. Hunter also played basketball and baseball, and was an All-State selection in both football and basketball.
Hunter was born on Feb. 10, 1972 in Tacoma. His older brother Darryl Hunter played for Eastern as a defensive back from 1983-86. Darryl was a member of EWU's 1985 team that was inducted into the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005 on the 20th anniversary of the school's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
Central Washington, '03
Having worked four previous seasons under defensive coordinator John Graham at Central Washington, Ryan Sawyer enters his first season as a coach in Eastern Washington's program. He will coach defensive linemen.
A four-year starter at defensive end for the Wildcats from 1996-99, Sawyer spent the 2007 season as CWU's defensive line coach under Graham and head coach Beau Baldwin. Sawyer also served as the team's strength and conditioning coach.
Prior to spending 2003-07 as owner of a residential painting business in Kent, Wash., he spent three previous three seasons at CWU as a student assistant wide receiver coach (2001-2002) and as a tight end/offensive line coach (2000). In 2002 he coached three wide receivers who earned all-conference honors, including All-American Brian Potucek as Central finished the season 11-1. Potucek was the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 2001.
Sawyer earned second team all-conference honors in 1998 during a streak in which he made 36-straight starts for the Wildcats. He earned his bachelor's of science degree in individual studies in spring 2003, with an emphasis on studies in health and coaching.