Jan. 4, 2008
Below are comments made at the press conference on Jan. 4 to introduce Beau Baldwin as the new head coach at Eastern Washington University . . .
Comments from EWU President Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo
"We have an initiative at Eastern to `start something big,' and I think that's what we are doing today. Beau is an individual who is going to help us move the program forward. We are making progress in all of our athletic programs at this institution, and football is no exception. We obviously did very well this year, so it was our intent to look for an individual that could continue to move us forward. He had a similar experience this past year at Central. It's never an easy process to find an individual as quickly as we can to ensure that we can stay ahead during the student-recruiting period. With that message and charge, Bill Chaves got on the road fast and made a lot of phone calls. He connected with a lot of people and we have the end result today."
Comments from EWU Athletic Director Bill Chaves
"After three weeks of intensive work to find the right person to take over Eastern Football, I'm extremely excited to say we found that man. I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Don Ross, our associate athletic director, and Judy Crabb, our administrative assistant in athletics. They were paramount during this search process. We had over 50 candidates contact us with an interest in leading this football program. That's a direct reflection of the program's tradition of excellence. It's also a direct reflection of the talented group of student-athletes we have returning in 2008 and beyond. The pool was then whittled down to 10 very diverse individuals. It was a very talented pool of coaches. From those 10, it became quite apparent that Beau Baldwin was the right fit at this time for Eastern Football. He is a rising star in the football coaching industry and we're extremely happy to have him back. I've received numerous endorsements from all over the country, region and state supporting coach Baldwin. But it was his vision, energy and character that stood out. I believe coach Baldwin will continue Eastern's tradition of football excellence."
Comments from New EWU Football Coach Beau Baldwin
"I want to start out by thanking Bill Chaves, Don Ross, Dr. Arevalo and everyone who has made this opportunity possible. Football is a great sport and it's become a part of my life. There are so many people along the way that have been a part of that. Back in high school I knew I wanted to be in this sport for a very long time. I also knew I was 5-foot-11 with not much of an arm so if it was going to happen it was going to be coaching. It wasn't going to be as a player -- I was smart enough to know that. My high school coach, Bob Lucey, was an influence on me early on. From there, Mike Dunbar was the head coach at Central Washington and gave me an opportunity to continue to move on. Jeff Zenisek hired me for my first coaching job and that always means something to me. John Zamberlin helped me quite a bit. He was a coach at Eastern at one time and my longest tenure as an assistant under one head coach was under Zamberlin at Central. He helped me a lot along the way. I don't know how much he wants to help me now that he's at Idaho State. It's going to be fun competing against him. Most recently, Paul Wulff gave me an opportunity to come here and even more than that, he started something that became the most important thing in my life -- my family. I came here as a single football coach, and the people I need to thank now are my family, most importantly, my wife Nicole. When I came here in 2003, football was everything to me. Now it's a big part of my life, but more importantly, I've become a better person and coach because of the incredible support I have. It's helped me grow as a person. Those four years here I grew so much because I was around incredible people. Not just the coaching staff, but the Eastern family and the Cheney community made it an incredible time for me. For my first year as head coach at Central Washington, I want to thank Jack Bishop and Dr. (Jerilyn) McIntyre for making that possible. I thank the community of Ellensburg, the Central community and our team of players that are fantastic individuals. It's never easy to leave. Even though you know an opportunity is absolutely right, it's still not easy to leave because there are great people there. There are so many thanks to give out, but those are a just some of the people that have had a huge impact and influence on my life."
On Opportunity at Eastern: "It's huge. I have a good feel for the student-athletes that are in the program right now. I have a good feel about the community and the support. I know the efforts that go into it -- I saw the growth during my four years here. I saw the growth at that time and I know that is going to continue. I saw the success, and not just the success that those student-athletes had on the field in the last few years. But I saw the great character of the individuals in this football program. It's easy to see what they do on the football field. But I know almost all of our players and I recruited a lot of our players, so I know exactly what I'm getting into. And it's something special. During my four years here there was incredible warmth. This community brought me in and accepted me in a sense. It's exciting to return to that atmosphere. I know how many great things are going to continue to happen here."
On Continuing to Improve: "Things have been built through recruiting, through character and through talent, and I know those can keep elevating. Those are the goals within this program. We want to keep taking it to another level and then another level. With the talent that is here, the coaches and the support of the administration, we are looking towards that goal. Recruiting is something we are always going to build on. 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. A lot of times, the on the field part comes easy. There are things you can do between the ages of 18 and 23 to help mold and develop their character. We are going to work hard. Coach Wulff talks about Washington State being the State of Washington's school, but this will still be the State of Washington's school too. Recruiting in this state has to be our focus. We'll build our program when we do that. I'm excited about the last month of recruiting coming up."
On Current Players: "We're meeting with the team next week. We'll talk about what our plans and goals are for winter quarter and spring ball, what our goals are academically and what our goals are going to be going into next year. It's a fun time for me and I thank everyone that had any part in getting me to this point. I've very humbled by it and just excited to go to work."
On Leaving Central: "It was really tough to leave Central. But in this profession, you don't choose when the opportunity is going to come. For me, this was a situation I was extremely excited about when I first started looking into it. Obviously, it has elevated to this and I feel very fortunate. Again, it's never easy, but I'm glad it's not easy. If it's easy then you probably didn't build anything there and you didn't have very good relationships. I always want to have that. This is just a rare situation when the opportunity came up within a year of being gone."
On Working With Returning Talent: "It definitely excites me -- I don't want to mess them up. They are great athletes and a great team. They are guys with great character and I know that. I saw that in '06 -- it was a struggle but it's not like you couldn't see the character that was there. I saw the makeup of that group of guys. I didn't get to be a part of their off-season, but there is no doubt that those games they won last year were won between January and August. That's the same approach I've always believed in. It doesn't matter if you are successful or not, you are going to get better or worse each day. I know how hard those guys worked. The fun part is the season, but you win or lose those games in the off-season."
On Goals for a Team Coming Off Top Eight Finish in the Nation: "I think you want to keep your eye on the prize and the ultimate prize is to win a national championship. But it's still a process. You have to have winter goals and you have to have spring goals. When you get to the season, your goal has to be to practice well each day. I know that sounds cliché, but that's how you have to approach it. When you get to that first game you have to do everything you can to win. You go from there and take each step one at a time. Hopefully you have a chance to continue winning, to continue earning more games and take your game to the next level. I'm very confident that our players are going to come back hungry. They aren't settling for what they already accomplished. We won't let that happen. We're looking to come back and work even harder. We want to do even more and get over another hump."
On Working With Limitations: "I don't look at what our limits are as much as what we can get done. I believe strongly that you can out-work people. We're fortunate to be a great state when it comes to recruiting. 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."
On Assistant Coaches: "I have some ideas, but those are things I still have to discuss later today and this weekend. I don't have any definite answers, but there is no question that there will be a mixture of coaches from the staff at Central and the staff here at Eastern."