Rogers State University has named Wren Baker, a former member of the Oklahoma State University men’s basketball coaching staff, as its first athletic director and men’s basketball coach.
The university made the announcement at a news conference Thursday on the RSU campus in Claremore. Baker will begin his duties on June 1.
In his new role, Baker will provide leadership for the new RSU Hillcat athletic program, which was accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in the fall. The university presently fields teams in baseball, softball and rodeo, and plans to participate in men’s and women’s basketball during the 2007-2008 season.
“Naming the first athletic director and men’s basketball coach is another significant milestone in the evolution of this great university,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. “We have selected an outstanding, seasoned professional from a highly respected athletic program who is as concerned about his athletes’ performance in the classroom as he is about their success on the court or the playing field.”
Baker will begin building the new RSU athletic program by conducting a search for a women’s basketball coach. In the future, the university plans to expand its athletic program by participating in sports such as golf or soccer.
“I am honored to be the first person to hold this important position at RSU and am looking forward to leading the development of the university’s athletic programs,” said Baker. “This is an exciting time to be a part of Hillcat athletics.”
Baker served as an assistant in the OSU athletic department from 2001 to 2005, coordinating a variety of initiatives under the direction of head men’s basketball coach Eddie Sutton.
“Wren is a wonderful choice for RSU. He did a terrific job for our program at OSU,” said Eddie Sutton. “He is a quality person and a tireless worker. He is a family man with high morals and values. He will be a tremendous ambassador for the university and community.”
Baker’s wide-ranging responsibilities with the OSU athletic department included providing assistance in the recruitment of student athletes, development of basketball practice schedules and game strategies, scheduling opponents and representing OSU athletics with the media. He was involved in daily meetings with the OSU coaching staff. He also worked with the associate athletic directors to ensure NCAA and Big 12 Conference compliance and made travel arrangements for the men’s basketball team. He was responsible for tracking the academic performance and achievement of student athletes and served as a liaison with the OSU student body, campus organizations and faculty. He also helped organize and direct summer basketball camps.
During his four-year tenure with OSU, the men’s basketball team achieved a 102-30 win-loss record including Final Four and Sweet 16 appearances.
During the last academic year, Baker has served as athletic director and middle school principal for the Valliant (Okla.) Public Schools, where he supervises student athletes and coaches and provides leadership for the middle school. He is a native of Valliant.
Baker’s previous experience also includes serving as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant from 1999 to 2001, where he recruited student athletes and ensured compliance with NCAA and conference rules. He also was responsible for tracking the academic performance and achievements of student athletes at SEOSU.
He received a master’s degree in education leadership studies from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he was a member of the honors program and served in a variety of campus leadership roles.
He and his wife Heather live in Valliant and plan to move to the Claremore area.