EWU football is Team of the Year, Eastern’s Kaufman wins Amateur Athlete of the Year
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).
He is now 44-19 in five seasons as a head coach (2008-12). 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.