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It’s official: EWU hires Eti Ena to coach defensive line

Eastern Washington graduate and former Eagle assistant Eti Ena returns to EWU to coach the defensive line.
Eastern Washington graduate and former Eagle assistant Eti Ena returns to EWU to coach the defensive line.

Eastern Washington graduate and former Eagle assistant Eti Ena has returned to coach the Eagles’ defensive line, head coach Beau Baldwin said Thursday.

Ena comes to Eastern from Cal Poly, where he coached the defensive line from 2013-15. Before that, Ena spent four seasons (2009-12) as defensive line coach at Idaho.

“We’re fortunate to be able to hire somebody who has such great coaching experience and success working at different universities on the West Coast,” Baldwin said.

Ena was a grad assistant at Eastern from 2003-05, when Baldwin was offensive coordinator under Paul Wulff.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to be back at my alma mater,” said Ena, who transferred to EWU from Snow College in Utah but was unable to play because of a shoulder injury.

Ena takes over as defensive front coordinator from Ryan Sawyer, who left to pursue opportunities outside of coaching. Assistant Brian Strandley will continue as a defensive line coach.

Baldwin said Sawyer’s recruiting coordinator duties would be filled by cornerbacks coach Cherokee Valeria.

Ena’s cousin, Paul Ena, was a two-time All-Big Sky defensive end for EWU from 2009-12. His uncle and Paul’s father, Tali Ena, was a standout running back at Washington State University (1976-79) and went on to play for the Seattle Seahawks.

Baldwin still has one vacancy to fill after quarterbacks coach Zak Hill left to become offensive coordinator at Hawaii.

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