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Eastern Washington University Football

On the heels of two straight losses, Ian Shoemaker resigns as Eastern Washington offensive coordinator

Ian Shoemaker, who was named offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington in 2019, stepped down on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021.   (TYLER TJOMSLAND)
By Dan Thompson For The Spokesman-Review

Ian Shoemaker resigned as Eastern Washington’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tuesday.

The news was announced Wednesday by the EWU athletic department. It was deemed “a personnel issue” and the release stated no additional comments would be made, including by head coach Aaron Best.

Shoemaker was in his third season at Eastern Washington. Wide receivers coach Pat McCann will take over his duties on an interim basis, according to the release.

Through the first seven games this season – all victories – Eastern Washington’s offense was averaging 54 points and 628.1 yards per game, and senior quarterback Eric Barriere was leading the Football Championship Subdivision in passing.

Following the team’s 71-21 victory against Idaho on Oct. 16 – the last in that seven-game winning streak, Best praised Shoemaker’s work with the offense.

“It’s like a quarterback,” Best said. “At the end of the day, when you’re in a groove, you’re in a groove. … Coach Shoe(maker) is in a groove.”

But in its past two games – both home losses by a combined four points – Eastern’s offense had gone cold relative to its hot start, amassing 748 yards and 54 points total against defenses that are statistically among the Big Sky Conference’s best in Weber State and Montana State.

After the loss to Montana State on Saturday, Best said, “This game is cruel sometimes: Four points, two losses. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many you lost by; it’s a matter of the fact that you lost. And so we’ve got to find ways, especially against really good defenses, to score more points, and that’s what we’ve got to do.

“I don’t know if it is creativity. I don’t know if it’s (a) lack of execution.

“You’ve got to give those defenses credit, because they take some things away, but if they take something away then something else is open.”

During media availability Tuesday, Eagles senior wide receiver Talolo Limu-Jones talked about “going back to the basics” when Eastern faces No. 6 UC Davis (8-1, 5-1) on Saturday in California.

“I feel like we tried to go away from things that were going our way, and I think that we just need to go back to what was working,” Limu-Jones said. “We don’t really have to do too many things differently. I feel like we just have to run our stuff and make them stop it.”

Through nine games, the seventh-ranked Eagles (7-2, 4-2 Big Sky) still lead the FCS in scoring average (48 points per game) and are second in total offense (571.7 yards per game).

In 2019, Shoemaker’s first season as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator, Eastern led the nation in yards per game with 524.8, 40 more than the second-ranked team, Southeastern Louisiana.

In the shortened 2020-21 season, the Eagles averaged almost exactly as many yards (526.6) and ranked third nationally in total offense.

Before his time at Eastern, Shoemaker was the head coach at Division II Central Washington.

Shoemaker is the fourth EWU football coach to resign in 2021, following Brian Strandley (defensive line), Josh Fetter (linebackers) and Heath Pulver (special teams).

Running backs coach Kevin Maurice also left the program after the 2020-21 spring season. Maurice is now the tight ends coach at New Mexico State.

Best took over as head coach before the 2017 season, and from his staff on that team, two coaches remain: Eti Ena, who in 2017 was the team’s defensive front coordinator and is now the defensive coordinator and associate head coach; and offensive line coach Jase Butorac.

Marc Anderson, now in his first year as the tight ends coach, chief of staff and recruiting coordinator, was Eastern’s director of football operations the previous five seasons.

Before Shoemaker, Bodie Reeder was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018.

After he left Eastern, he was the offensive coordinator for one season at North Texas (2019) and took the same position at Utah State for the 2020-21 season. He is an offensive analyst in Auburn’s football program.