Beau Baldwin was officially named the head coach of the Cal Poly Football team on Dec. 11, 2019. In his first season as head coach, Baldwin had to adjust quickly to not only being a first-year head coach but also to coaching during COVID-19.
“I always look at any adversity or situation as an opportunity to respond to it,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin served as the head coach for nine seasons at Eastern Washington University, then he spent three years as the offensive coordinator at UC Berkeley before arriving at Cal Poly. Baldwin is taking over a program looking for their first winning season since 2016, after the team recorded a combined 9-24 record over the past three years.
When Cal Poly announced that it would cancel spring training due to the pandemic, the team still had plans to play its originally scheduled season beginning on Sept. 5. Then on Aug. 7, the Big Sky Conference announced that the usual Fall football season would be postponed to 2021 and will most likely to occur in the Spring.
“My whole feeling was, we are all having to handle this situation, we are all having to go through a time that is not perfect, let’s be the ones who handle it the best,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said he credits his team’s maturity for using the pandemic as an opportunity to learn and grow.
“The reason it has not been difficult to manage is because of how hungry our kids are to get as much as they can,” Baldwin said. “As much as they can possibly get from us, they want it.”
After 10 months of Zoom meetings, voluntary workouts and practices with pods of ten people or less, the team held their first practice on Oct. 27.
“There was plenty of energy,” Baldwin said. “It was a lot of built-up stuff that we have had for a while.”
Although the Mustangs held their first practice and were able to get back on the field, Baldwin said it is only the first step to his goal for the program: a national championship.
“We are miles away and we always will be because we are always growing, and you are never a finished product,” Baldwin said. “It is another starting line when we get out to practice tomorrow.”