Long-time assistant coach Aaron Best tapped as next EWU head football coach


Brad Brown

EWU has promoted offensive line coach Aaron Best to be the program’s next head coach

By Brandon Cline, Sports Editor

EWU Athletic Director Bill Chaves announced via Twitter on Jan. 21 that EWU alum and offensive line coach Aaron Best had been named the school’s next head football coach.

Best is replacing Beau Baldwin as head coach, who accepted the offensive coordinator position at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this week. Best was EWU’s offensive line coach during Baldwin’s time at EWU and held the same position from 2002-2006 as well.

“The DNA that he cultivated, we’re going to have the same EKG – Eastern Kinda Guys,” said Best of Baldwin’s time at EWU. “It takes a different kind of guy to belong here: I’ve seen it and I’ve live it. Some guys don’t belong in Cheney.”

Best knows about belonging in Cheney, suiting up for the Eagles from 1996-1999. He was a first team All-Big Sky selection and an honorable mention All-American in his senior year, and Best was also named to the Big Sky Conference All-Academic team twice in his career.

Best was calm, cool and collected in his press conference, assuring the “Eagle Nation” that the offense was still going to be explosive and fun during his tenure.

“We’ll be more balanced, but that’s not to say we’re going to go back to the drawing board and be run first,” said Best. “We’ll be pass first.”

In total, Best has spent 20 seasons being involved in the program and was viewed as being a front-runner for the head coaching position when it became vacant. During his time as a coach at EWU, Best has coached players such as Michael Roos, a Pro Bowler drafted in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft, and Jake Rodgers, who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Under Best’s tutelage, 16 EWU offensive linemen have earned All-America honors.

With the taking on of this new position, Best is looking to get more involved with the other parts of this Eagle team.

“I want to sit back and see things from a different perspective, have my heart and head in a different place, and have more input on defense and special teams,” Best said.

The new head coach will also look to quickly fill the rest of the program’s coaching staff, which currently has five vacant positions. Quarterbacks coach Troy Taylor and running backs coach Kiel McDonald both departed for the University of Utah, while wide receivers coach Nick Edwards followed Baldwin to Cal. Meanwhile, tight ends coach and associate head coach John Graham resigned to pursue non-football interests.

“We have several names in mind, there are interviews to be had, including a few former Eagles,” said Best. “At this point, it’s a matter of getting out in front of this awesome recruiting class, and then we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”

Best also noted that the Eagles have had no de-commits despite all the coaching changes, saying that “no news is good news, and this is a special class on and off the field.”