Aaron Best will remain head coach of the Eastern Washington football team next season, EWU athletics director Tim Collins said on Monday.
“I would challenge a lot of people to say we didn’t make improvement from last year, and I know people are frustrated too, and they should be,” Collins said in a phone interview. “But there’s nobody more frustrated than our student athletes and coaches.”
Eastern Washington, whose season ended Saturday with a 49-42 loss to Northern Arizona, finished 4-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Sky. The Eagles were 10th in the 12-team conference standings. That came on the heels of a 3-8 season in 2022.
But Collins, who was hired as athletics director earlier this year, said Best’s work should be assessed over its whole seven years – he is the Big Sky’s second-longest tenured head coach behind Portland State’s Bruce Barnum – during which his teams have gone 48-32, with a 10-win and a 12-win season, including a runner-up finish in the FCS championship.
Collins also said he is “anticipating more progress” next season.
“I really believe that we have a young roster in a lot of areas,” Collins said. “Especially next year, I think we’re set up for success.”
The decision whether to retain assistant coaches is Best’s, Collins said.
“Ultimately it’s up to the head coach,” he said. “They are the CEO of their program.”
Best first came to Eastern as a player in 1996 and since then has spent all but one year – 2007, when he was the CFL Toronto Argonauts offensive line coach – with the Eagles as a player or coach.
Eastern will play a 12-game season next year, starting at home against Monmouth on Aug. 29.