Baldwin wins Coach of the Year, EWU is Team of the Year and EWU wins Amateur Athlete of the Year honors for third-straight season
In a repeat performance from 2010, the Eastern Washington University football team has won three prestigious awards presented by the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters (SWABS).
The Eagles won the Team of the Year Award after finishing the 2012 season 11-3 and advancing to the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs. Head Coach Beau Baldwin was selected as the Coach of the Year, repeating the honor he won in 2010 after EWU won the NCAA Division I championship. Wide receiver Brandon Kaufman was Amateur Male Athlete of the Year, marking the third-straight year an Eagle has won that award.
In winning the team honor the Eagles also won in 2010, it was only the third 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 prior to 2010.
Also rare is the male Amateur Athlete of the Year awards won by Eastern athletes, with Kaufman just the fifth to win the honor in the last 64 years. Eastern has won the last three, but was honored just twice in the first 61 years. The athletes previously honored were football player Bo Levi Mitchell (2011), football player J.C. Sherritt (2010), basketball player Rodney Stuckey (2007) and football player Scott Garske (1973).
Baldwin is the first Eastern coach to earn multiple Coach of the Year accolades, and his honor is the sixth overall for EWU. Previous 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 finished with a 7-1 Big Sky Conference record to win their sixth league title and fourth in the last nine seasons. Eastern made its sixth appearance in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs since 2004.
He is now 44-19 in five seasons as a head coach (2008-12), and was 25-22 as an EWU assistant coach for four seasons (2003-06), for a collective total of 69-41. His .750 winning percentage in Big Sky Conference games (30-10) is the best-ever by an Eastern head coach and currently ranks eighth in the 50-year history of the Big Sky Conference. His .698 percentage overall is 11th.
Baldwin won his first Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year honor in 2012, and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award presented by the Sports Network. In 2010, he 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.
Kaufman, who is currently training in Orlando, Fla., in preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine in February and the NFL Draft in April, is from Denver, Colo., and is a 2009 graduate of Heritage HS. He finished the 2012 season with 1,850 yards (93 receptions and 16 TD) to break the FCS record of 1,712 yards previously held by Eddie Conti of Delaware in 1998. Kaufman averaged 19.9 yards per catch with a long of 93 yards, and ranked second in FCS in receiving yards per game (132.1) in 2012.
On single season lists, Kaufman’s 93 catches ranks second in school history (behind the school-record 95 that teammate Nicholas Edwards had in 2011), fifth in the Big Sky and 28th in FCS. His 16 touchdowns are third all-time at EWU and his average of 19.9 yards per catch was fifth in EWU history. In his last four games of the season, Kaufman had 37 catches for 741 yards (20.0 per catch) with six scores. Kaufman went over the 100-yard mark 11 times in the 2012 season and 19 times in his career.
He earned the 2012 FCS Wide Receiver Award from College Football Performance Awards (CFPA), and was selected to seven All-America teams picked by College Sports Journal (first team), College Sports Madness (first team), Beyond Sports College Network (first team), Phil Steele Publications (first team), The Sports Network (second team) and Associated Press (second team), as well as the College Sporting News “Fabulous 50” A-A squad.
He finished his 42-game career with 221 catches (third in school history, seventh in Big Sky history) for 3,731 yards (second all-time at EWU, fourth in the Big Sky and 19th in FCS) and 33 touchdowns (second in school history). Because of hand and knee injuries requiring surgery, Kaufman received an injury redshirt in the 2011 season after playing in the first four games of the year. He caught 76 passes for 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010 to help EWU to a 13-2 record and the NCAA Division I Championship.