Northwest Notes Jan. 11, 2019

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EWU rewards football coach Best with two-year contract extension

CHENEY — Eastern Washington University football coach Aaron Best has verbally agreed to terms for a new two-year extension to his contract, Eastern athletic director Lynn Hickey announced on Thursday.

The extension runs through 2024.

Best, who has spent 22 seasons as a player or coach for the Eagles, was the Big Sky Conference co-Coach of the Year in 2018 after guiding Eastern to a league co-championship and an appearance in the NCAA Division I Championship Game. He was also voted by fans nationwide as the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Coach of the Year by Hero Sports.

The Eagles — who finished 12-3 in Best’s second year at the helm — fell 38-24 to North Dakota State last Saturday in Frisco, Texas, for the FCS championship EWU won in 2010 and NDSU has now won seven of the eight years since.

In two years at the helm, he has compiled a 19-7 record overall (73.1 percent) and 13-3 mark in the league (81.3 percent). Both percentages currently rank as the best in school history, just ahead of Beau Baldwin with an 85-32 overall mark (72.6 percent) in nine seasons from 2008-16, and a 58-14 league record (80.6 percent).

• A celebratory Eastern Washington University football rally and proclamation will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. at the River Park Square Mall atrium in Spokane.

Idaho track and field team

to honor athlete in indoor opener

MOSCOW — The Idaho Vandals open 2019 indoor track and field season this weekend with the Lauren McCluskey Memorial Open in the Kibbie Dome. Multi events get started today at 10:40 a.m., with competition starting back up at 8:55 a.m. on Saturday.

Idaho’s track and field program chose to honor the memory of the late Lauren McCluskey for the season-opening meet. McCluskey, a native of Pullman, was a student-athlete on the University of Utah track and field team before being she was tragically killed on Oct. 22. With the staff looking to rename the regular season opener, McCluskey was the obvious choice.

“When we got here in 2014 Lauren was a senior in high school, and we recruited her,” said Tim Cawley, director of track and field/cross country at Idaho. “I think she was one of the first athletes I met. She and her mom were out on the track training, because she was over here training all the time. She competed at all of the indoor meets. She was just a fixture around the Dome and we wanted to honor her this year, just do something to honor her memory.”

The meet will take a break midway through the running events on Saturday for a video presentation and moment of silence in McCluskey’s memory.

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