By Pat Jenkins
Graham, Orting, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio and Minnesota have been the stepping stones on a path that led Ian Shoemaker to his first college head coaching job.
Central Washington University announced Dec. 26 that Ian Shoemaker is its new coach, and barely a week later the well-traveled Shoemaker was on the Ellensburg campus, starting to put together his team’s roster for the 2014 season next fall.
Shoemaker, a native of Graham, joins the Wildcats after six seasons as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. The NCAA Division II Huskies reached the national playoffs three times in the last four seasons, and Shoemaker expects similar success with Central.
“I want to continue the upward momentum of the program and get back to winning on a national level, which I believe we can do here,” he said.
Shoemaker was in Ellensburg last Thursday, his first official day on the job. One of his first tasks was recruiting players for this year’s team, which will be coming off a 7-4 record in 2013.
“We are very excited to bring Ian back to the state of Washington,” said athletics director Dennis Francois. “He has an incredible football mind, and I’m confident he will be a great mentor for our student-athletes both on and off the field.”
Central has won seven Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season championships.
Shoemaker was among 55 applicants to replace former coach John Picha. He was hired after a two-month review process that ended with Central officials settling on Shoemaker, in large part because of his reputation for coaching offense. Under Shoemaker’s leadership, the St. Cloud State offense flourished, setting single-season school records for points scored in a season, total touchdowns, pass efficiency, pass completions, yards per pass, and total offense. The Huskies’ scoring average jumped from 25.3 (2004-07) to 32.8 (2008-12), and their yards-per-game average increased from 363 to 402.
Central’s players and fans can expect “a no-huddle, multiple-tempo, multiple-shotgun type of offense,” Shoemaker said. “I’m excited to fit my schemes around the talented and skilled student-athletes that are returning next season.”
Shoemaker graduated from Orting High School. At Grinnell College in Iowa, he was a four-year starter in football and baseball, and earned a degree in psychology. He was the football team’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Back of the Year, and he set school records for home runs in a season and career in baseball.
After graduating from Grinnell, Shoemaker studied sport psychology at Western Washington University, where he also began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Vikings’ now-defunct football program from 1997 to 1999, coaching the tight ends and running backs. Shoemaker then went to University of Saint Mary in Kansas as its offensive coordinator before spending 2000-03 as the passing-game coordinator at Minot State University in North Dakota.
Shoemaker’s first NCAA coaching job was as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio for three seasons, followed by a two-year stint as offensive coordinator at Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio from 2006 to 2008.