Out With the Old, In With the New
New head coaches Shantay Legans and Aaron Best look to build off of their predecessor's successes
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While many students at EWU had a relaxing spring break away from school, athletic director Bill Chaves was hard at work.
On March 29, EWU’s men’s basketball head coach of six years, Jim Hayford, took the vacant head coaching position at Seattle University. Less than three hours following that announcement, Chaves announced that Shantay Legans would be the new head coach. Legans had been the team’s assistant coach for nine years, including the last six with Hayford.
Less than three months prior to this most recent coaching shift, EWU promoted offensive line coach Aaron Best to be the new head football coach after Beau Baldwin left for the offensive coordinator position at UC Berkeley in January.
It has been a busy two and a half months for Chaves, to say the least, having to replace arguably two of the most accomplished coaches in EWU history.
“Congratulations to both coach Baldwin and Hayford,” said Chaves. “When you do a good job you have opportunities.”
It’s not every day that a program loses a pair of coaches like this, let alone so close together. In a span of 72 days, EWU’s head coaches at its top two sports (in terms of attendance) both bolted to different universities. But it shows the success that EWU football and basketball has had in recent years.
“There’s usually one of two ways that you depart,” said Chaves. “It’s either you get an opportunity, or someone tells you your time is done. You hope that all of our staff, if they do a great job, you hope they have opportunities moving forward.”
The fact that following these departures a coach was promoted internally to be named head coach also shows the growth within the program.
“What I think is kind of cool is the fact that they both get to start in the same year,” said Chaves. “They probably can lean on each other and help each other along.”
Now, as spring football opens and the new era for EWU football and men’s basketball has begun, expectations remain the same.
“Most of our teams start with the expectation of being very competitive in the Big Sky Conference,” said Chaves. “I think their expectation is to carry the torch and move it along.”
Now that the torches have been passed, it remains to be seen if the new sheriffs in town can run with their new opportunities and continue the success that their predecessors made tradition at EWU.