It has always started up front for the Eastern Washington University football team, and Aaron Best has been front and center for 20 years.
The long-time offensive line coach and former All-America center for the Eagles was introduced as Eastern’s 21st head football coach in school history Monday, Jan. 23, with a long line of support past and present – particularly from the legacy of outstanding offensive linemen Eastern has created.
“I appreciate the opportunity from the bottom of my heart,” said Best, who is just the second Eastern graduate to become EWU’s head football coach in more than 50 years. “I have a lot of different Eagle caps I wear, and I am proud – very privileged and proud – for this opportunity.”
“Searches are about the right fit at the right time,” said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves of replacing nine-year head coach Beau Baldwin. “You always try to look at some degree internally, and we’re just so excited that the right fit was within our four walls at this stage of the game. Coach Best knows the DNA of our program after two decades. He knows it as a recruited student-athlete here at Eastern and as an assistant coach who has done a number of things during his time here. There is no question Coach Best is the right person at the right time to build upon what Coach Baldwin did here for the past nine years.”
Best is among the 19 offensive linemen who have earned All-America honors since 1996 when he first arrived on the Cheney campus. He himself and four teammates were All-Americans, then he had a hand in coaching the next 14. Those 19 players combined for 21 first team All-Big Sky Conference honors in 20 years.