Eastern Washington takes Best step forward

(STATS) - FCS national power Eastern Washington has found its replacement for recently departed coach Beau Baldwin, and not surprisingly it didn't have to look far.

On Saturday, athletic director Bill Chaves announced offensive line coach Aaron Best has been promoted to the 21st head coach in program history. He will be introduced at a campus news conference Monday.

Best has spent the last 20 years in the Eagles' program. He was an All-American center from 1996-99 and has served as an assistant coach since 2000, including the last nine seasons guiding the offensive linemen.

This will be his first time as a head coach.

When former 10-year NFL offensive lineman Michael Roos had his number retired by Eastern Washington in 2009, he praised Best, saying "I was very lucky to have the best offensive line coach possible in Aaron Best. He taught all of us the meaning of hard work and perseverance."

On Monday, Best was named co-interim head coach with defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding after Baldwin left to become offensive coordinator at Cal. At a news conference to announce the change, Chaves said it would be beneficial to have a coach with Eastern Washington ties.

In nine seasons under Baldwin, Eastern Washington won five Big Sky titles and the 2010 national title, had three other semifinal-round appearances in six playoff seasons and compiled an 85-32 record.

The Eagles were 12-2 this past season. One of the keys was Best rebuilding an offensive line that lost all five starters plus two other key seniors from 2015.

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