If Beau Baldwin had anything to say about it, he'd rename the award.
The sixth-year Eastern Washington University head football coach was awarded for the second-straight season as Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, the league announced Wednesday (Nov. 27).
"I am humbled very much," said Baldwin, who ranks in the top seven all-time in Big Sky history for winning percentage overall and in conference games only. "Especially in the sport of football, a coach of the year award is more accurately stated as a coaching staff of the year award. So much of it is because of what the assistant coaches do every year. I'm lucky to have not only great football guys, but great teachers and men on this staff. This type of award is a tribute to them."
"And no staff ever wins a coach of the year award without talented players, great leadership and outstanding character in the locker room," he continued. "Our players exemplify that."
Baldwin led EWU to its third Big Sky title in four seasons with an 8-0 conference mark, and a 10-2 overall record. He became one of four coaches in FCS history to lead his team to a win over a ranked FBS team when his Eagles topped No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 to open the season.
He is now 54-21 in five-plus seasons as a head coach (2008-13) and 38-10 in Big Sky Conference games. His .792 winning percentage in league games is the best-ever by an Eastern head coach and currently ranks fifth in the 50-year history of the Big Sky Conference. His 38 Big Sky victories are a school record, three better than the EWU head coach he previously served under, Paul Wulff (2000-2007). Baldwin's .720 percentage overall is now seventh in league history.
Baldwin's honor is the seventh for an Eastern head coach. Dick Zornes was the first in 1992, followed by Mike Kramer in 1997. Wulff was honored in 2001, 2004 and 2005 prior to Baldwin winning the honor in 2012.
"What a tremendous accomplishment by Coach Baldwin, his staff and team to go through a Big Sky season undefeated. And having Coach Baldwin's peers recognize the accomplishment is special too," said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves. "There is no doubt that Coach Baldwin has taken what all of our past coaches have built at Eastern and expanded upon it. You need an orchestra leader to do the things we are doing and Beau is just that – the best in the business. His record speaks for itself and we are just so fortunate to have him leading our program and be a face of Eastern Washington University."
Eastern's 2013 season under Baldwin includes wins over four teams who were ranked in the FCS polls this season – Montana, Montana State, Cal Poly and Southern Utah. The only losses for the Eagles came on the road to FBS Toledo and Sam Houston State, which was ranked fourth in FCS at the time.
Eastern's season continues on Dec. 7 when the Eagles play their first game in the FCS Playoffs at home at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., against the winner of this weekend's Northern Arizona-South Dakota State game. Besides EWU and NAU, Montana, Southern Utah and Sam Houston State all qualified for the FCS Playoffs.
"I also want to recognize and congratulate the other great coaches in this conference who work so hard," added Baldwin. "It's such a grind week-in and week-out in this great Big Sky Conference. I specifically congratulate coach (Jerome) Souers (from Northern Arizona), coach (Mick) Delaney (from Montana) and coach (Ed) Lamb (from Southern Utah) for the hard work they and their staffs put in to earn the right to play more football in the playoffs. Any of those coaches and their staffs could have won this award and it would have been just as deserving as our staff. I wish them luck as we all get the opportunity to continue our seasons."