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Eastern Washington University Football
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Eastern Washington football ‘not in panic mode’ after offensive coordinator resigns

UPDATED: Thu., June 8, 2017

Eastern Washington assistant coach Bodie Reeder works with quarterback Eric Barriere during a practice session last spring. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington assistant coach Bodie Reeder works with quarterback Eric Barriere during a practice session last spring. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The football season is less than three months away, but Eastern Washington coach Aaron Best isn’t sure who’ll be calling the Eagles’ offensive plays.

“That a question yet to be answered,” Best said Thursday, one day after his offensive coordinator and former Eastern teammate Fred Salanoa yielded to homesickness and resigned to go back to his family in Hawaii.

The timing isn’t good.

Salanoa, the Eagles’ third coordinator in barely a year, was just learning the offense in spring ball. The interim OC is 30-year-old Bodie Reeder, who less than six months ago was an assistant quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State.

However, Best said that “all options are possible,” including a nationwide search for Salanoa’s successor.

“I want to have conversations with many people, then find the best person and the best fit,” Best said.

The season opener is Sept. 2 at Texas Tech.

“We’re not in panic mode,” Best said of his first speed bump since taking over the program in January from Beau Baldwin.

“I will talk with coach Reeder first, but by no means do I stop there,” Best said. “I’ve seen his body of work for 15 practices and four months.”

In addition to his familiarity with the Eastern offense, Reeder worked quarterbacks in a similar scheme at Oklahoma State.

“They had a fair share of uptempo, and there are other similarities,” Best said.

Beyond Xs and Os, Best said he’s impressed with Reeder.

“He’s a very passionate individual,” Best said, noting that as a player, Reeder went from walk-on quarterback to team captain at Eastern Illinois.

At the same time, Best said he wishes the best of luck to Salanoa, who became increasingly torn between work and his family of eight back in Hawaii.

“I knew that he missed his family,” Best said. “I could tell it in his demeanor and in his voice at times – he wasn’t the Fred that I knew in 1999.”

Salanoa had intended to bring the family to the mainland this summer, but the situation was complicated by the fact that one daughter is a Division I volleyball prospect. A move might disrupt her dreams, the Salanoas feared.

Best said he found a teachable moment in Salanoa’s resignation.

“Now there’s another thing to look for to look for in a candidate. You have to ask a few more questions.”

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