Eastern Washington University officially announced Friday afternoon that longtime assistant football coach Chris Hansen is no longer a member of coach Beau Baldwin’s staff.
The school, in a statement released by its sports information department, provided no details about what led to Hansen’s departure, saying only that his previous duties as the Eagles running backs coach will be absorbed by other members of the staff until the end of the current season.
But Baldwin, when contacted Friday evening, said Hansen was terminated.
“It was a termination in the sense that I told him this is what were going to do,” Baldwin said of the meeting he had with Hansen earlier this week. “But a lot of what we talked about was agreed upon between both of us.
“It was a termination, but it wasn’t as if we were fighting over a bunch of stuff.”
Hansen, when reached by cell phone at Spokane International Airport, where he was preparing to board a flight to Juneau, Alaska, where his girlfriend lives, said his leaving was based, in part, on his having lost his passion for coaching.
“I have never been the same coach since Taiwan left,” he explained, in reference to Eastern’s former All-America running back Taiwan Jones, who declared for the NFL draft following his junior year and is now with the Oakland Raiders. “That just crushed me, and I lost my love for the game.
“I wasn’t happy coaching here anymore, and, to be honest, I wasn’t very good at it anymore. And coach Baldwin saw that.”
Hansen said he met with Baldwin to discuss his future and the two agreed it was best for all parties involved that he leave immediately.
“I would have been fired down the road, you bet,” he said. “If not now, then in January, if I didn’t get (it) together. But it would have happened, so he decided it was time for me to go do something else.”
Hansen, who earned his bachelor’s degree from EWU in 1991 and spent a total of 13 years since the mid-1980s performing a variety of coaching duties for the Eagles, emphasized he was leaving with no hard feelings toward his alma mater or Baldwin.
“I still love everything about Eastern and my boss, and appreciate everything they’ve done for me,” he said. “It’s just time to do something else.”
Baldwin admitted the timing of Hansen’s termination was not the best, but said he has personally taken over the responsibilities of coaching running backs in Hansen’s absence.