Jeff Schmedding is an old face in a new place for EWU football

By Brandon Cline, Staff Writer

Though Jeff Schmedding is in his first year as EWU football’s defensive coordinator, he brings an abundance of knowledge and experience to the position

The 2002 EWU graduate enters his 12th season as a coach at his alma mater and it will be his eighth season as a part of head coach Beau Baldwin’s staff. Schmedding was the special teams coordinator from 2008-2014 and will continue to serve as the safeties coach for his fifth season.

“He’s someone who, in my experience, is one of the most passionate, detailed and best football minds I’ve been around,” Baldwin told the Spokesman-Review about Schmedding on January 30.

Schmedding has coached numerous All-Big Sky Conference players, including safeties Tevin McDonald, Allen Brown, Jordan Tonani, Jeff Minnerly and All-American Matt Johnson. On special teams, Schmedding has overseen many All-Big Sky Conference players, including All-American kicker Jimmy Pavel in 2012 and first team All-Big Sky performer Bo Schuetzle in 2013.

The new defensive coordinator has found the value of having coached multiple positions throughout his coaching career.

“It just opens your eyes to some of the challenges at the different spots,” said Schmedding. “I think it gives you more of a big picture view of how things work together.”

For Schmedding, the transition from special teams coordinator has been smooth. “It’s very early, but it’s been great. Our defensive coaches do an excellent job and I learn as much from them as they would from me. I think we work together really well and I think the players buy in to that and know that we’re really trying to get everything coordinated and working together. It’s been great, no question about it.”

Schmedding’s coaching career traces back to the high school ranks, where he coached at University High School in Spokane, from 1999-2003 and taught as a health and fitness teacher from 2002-2003. Although he’s been a coach and a teacher for the past 17 years, he said he’s been learning every day.

“I think coaching multiple positions and being in charge of special teams for quite a few years really makes you get very organized, understand how to teach and how student athletes learn,” said Schmedding. “I think you really have to use different techniques with different players and you have to do some visual and some motor learning and you just have to keep mixing those up.”

Eastern finished 9-4 in Schmedding’s first season on the Eagle’s  staff and the program has experienced just one losing season in Schmedding’s tenure, in 2006. The continued success has remained a constant since Schmedding joined then-coach Paul Wulff’s staff.

“I think the biggest thing is just how it’s continued to build. It really hasn’t taken that major step back,” said Schmedding. “I got here under coach Wulff and we had a couple of really good seasons and when he left, coach Baldwin came in and I just think everything has been enhanced, from recruiting, to the field, to the atmosphere. Coach Baldwin really set a vision going forward and I think we are continuing that vision every year.”

With Schmedding comes the 4-2-5 defense, which he says is more of a multiple front and coverage defense that the players are excited about. “I think it allows us the ability to error on the side of speed in recruiting. Right now we’re in the early, early stages of it, but so far we’ve seen continuous improvement and that’s what we’re looking for,” says Schmedding.