Eagle Week ignites festivities

Eagle Week ignites festivities

By Elohino Theodore, Sports Writer

EWU athletics celebrated Eagle Week from April 21-26.

Festivities started on April 21 when head football coach Beau Baldwin and junior quarterback Vernon Adams visited Rogers High School in Spokane. Baldwin and Adams shared life lessons with the high school audience.

Baldwin spoke about his upbringing in Tacoma, Wash., and told stories of his past adversities. He mentioned some of the highlights in his football career, such as winning a state football title. Adams also spoke about growing up in Pasadena, Calif., as well as his own struggles, which included family struggles and growing up a in tough neighborhood.

That following day, director of athletics Bill Chaves made an appearance on Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho sports and weather channel SWX to talk about Eagle Week.

From April 22-24, Eastern athletes continued to make guest appearances at schools such as Salk Middle School, Saint George’s School and Gonzaga Prep in Spokane; Lakeside High School in Nine Miles Falls, Wash.; Riverside School District in Chattaroy, Wash.; and Cheney High School in Cheney. The rest of the guest visits had the same inspirational tone as Baldwin’s and Adams’.

“Each of the student-athletes went to the schools; we sent them out in pairs,” associate athletic director for external affairs Ken Halpin said. According to Halpin, the athletes were instructed to go out and give the Education, Attitude, Grit, Leadership and Excellence speech, also know as the E.A.G.L.E.S. Speech

“They just shared within the framework of that acronym personal life stories as it pertains to them coming up and going into college,” Halpin said. “The reason we gave the E.A.G.L.E.S. speech was to promote all the students listening to continue their education after high school.”

Halpin worked behind the scenes to help make Eagle Week a success. “I worked with admissions group. Admission scheduled all the [schools] and I recruited the student-athletes that would go speak at the [schools],” Halpin said.

“We first started brainstorming just about five months ago,” Halpin said. “We started working with admissions about four months ago. We spent a lot of time recruiting and brainstorming how it would go.”

Assistant athletic director for media relations Dave Cook also had a hand in the preparation of Eagle Week as well. “A lot of the media interviews and things that we set up I was involved with,” Cook said. “We always have great [responses] when we start talking with the radio stations and TV stations.”

Halpin mentioned the amount of people it took to plan every event. “Eagle Week was very much a department effort,” Halpin said. “Everyone in our department and several folks on campus were involved in it.”

On April 25, more students traveled to speak at Medical Lake High School.

Aside from visiting schools, the EWU football coaches’ golf tournament took place at Fairways Golf Course in Cheney. “The football coaches for a lot of years have put together a golf tournament to raise money specifically for the football program,” Halpin said.

On April 26, the Red-White Scrimmage took place in the afternoon. The 33rd annual Orland Killin Dinner, Auction and Dance were also on the same day.

“It’s just a great event because so many Eagle supporters and corporate people, as well as the coaches and staff, all go,” Cook said. “We raise money for the athletic department.”

“We get about 700 people into Reese Court; they all enjoy dinner and drinks,” Halpin said. “We have 100 silent auction items, about 10-15 live auction items. It’s just a night of fun for all of our fans to come out and spend some time raising some money.” Halpin also mentioned that the event is open to any paying customer, however only ages 21 and over are allowed inside.

Halpin and Cook explained why Eagle Week helps Eastern, “We condense a whole bunch of events to promote our brand in the community,” Halpin said. “We get involved in the community and to deepen our engagement with all of our fans here in this local area.”

“It’s just a great way to tell our story, especially in those speaking engagements,” Cook said. “It really gives us a springtime event to reconnect with [fans].”