Baker Named Deputy Athletic Director
Feb. 6, 2013
Wren Baker, who has led athletic departments at two universities, will join the University of Memphis athletic administration as Deputy Athletic Director for External Affairs. Memphis Director of Athletics Tom Bowen made the announcement Wednesday.
Baker has served as the director of athletics at Northwest Missouri State University the past two years and previously was the director of athletics at Rogers State University in Oklahoma.
At the University of Memphis, Baker will have oversight of advancement, development, stewardship, event marketing, the athletic ticket office and Tigers Sports Properties.
"We had an extraordinary field of men and women apply and interview for this job, and any number of them would have been a great selection," Bowen said. "I am thrilled Wren Baker has decided to come and be a part of Tiger Nation, and help build the University of Memphis Department of Athletics into one of the finest athletic departments in the country."
"I am honored to have the opportunity to join the team at Memphis," Baker said. "My family and I are excited to be a part of the Tiger family as well. Tom Bowen is well-respected in the industry and I look forward to learning from him and assisting with building on a proud athletic tradition."
Under Baker's leadership, Northwest Missouri State's athletic programs have had unprecedented success on the playing fields and courts while also making significant strides in both its internal and external operations.
Dating back to his tenure at Rogers State University (2006-10) when he was charged with building an athletic department from the ground up, Baker has been successful in hiring the right coaches. He hired 14 head coaches during his seven-plus years as an athletic director and all have winning seasons.
At Northwest Missouri State, his coaching hires include football coaches Scott Bostwick and Adam Dorrel as well as women's basketball coach Mark Kellogg and volleyball coach Amy Phelps.
Northwest Missouri State athletic teams captured five Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships during Baker's tenure.
The 2010-11 women's basketball team played in the NCAA Division II Final Four and the 2011 football team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Playoffs. The 2011-12 men's basketball team had its best season since 2007-08 by winning the MIAA championship and earning a spot in the NCAA Division II Basketball Championship. Last fall, the Bearcat football team once again gained a spot in the Division II playoffs, advancing to the second round.
On arrival at Northwest Missouri State, Baker's restructuring of the athletic department led to greater efficiencies and customer service. Following a compliance audit, he made sweeping changes to enhance Northwest's compliance program.
Baker's leadership and efforts in external affairs included a restructuring of the athletic department's sponsorship program, renegotiated broadcast rights, development of online apparel sales and an all-school Adidas agreement believed to be one of the most lucrative in NCAA Division II sports.
Last November, Northwest Missouri State's Department of Athletics announced its largest cash gift in program history. A private gift from Nodaway Valley Bank will be a key component in the department upgrading its facilities this year.
"During his tenure, Wren has led efforts for implementing a comprehensive approach to address increased revenue streams, and the results have been fantastic," said Northwest Missouri State University President John Jasinski. "Wren has led through very difficult circumstances and has helped shape our culture for the positive. Three successful coaching searches have been led by Wren, and he has built a team environment. While he has high expectations on the field, more importantly, he has helped enhance an environment to meet and exceed NCAA and institutional rules and an athletic program operating with integrity. I am most appreciative of Wren's leadership."
"To have another sitting athletic director leave his chair to join our department is amazing. I know we are getting an administrator who has a level of experience which is unparalleled and unprecedented," Bowen said. "Wren is a young and talented leader. It speaks volumes of how Memphis is held in public stature and within the intercollegiate athletics community to have someone of his caliber want to join our team."
Prior to his arrival at Rogers State University, the school did not have an intercollegiate athletic program. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest athletic director in the country at a four-year university. He proceeded to hire an administrative staff and seven head coaches, initiated fundraising efforts and oversaw multi-million dollar improvements to four athletic venues.
Within Baker's first year, Rogers State became full-fledged members of the NAIA and the Sooner Athletic Conference.
While at Rogers State, he was also the school's first men's basketball coach and led the Hillcats to a 20-11 record in the program's inaugural season (2006-07). After one season as head coach, he stepped down to focus on the growth of the department.
Before undertaking the task of building an athletic department at Rogers State, Baker became the youngest principal in the state of Oklahoma. At 26, he was named principal and athletic director at Valliant Public Schools in his hometown of Valliant, Okla.
He also served as an assistant in the men's basketball program at Oklahoma State University from 2001 to 2005, coordinating a variety of initiatives under the direction of then, men's basketball coach Eddie Sutton.
From 1999 to 2001, Baker served as a student assistant men's basketball coach at his alma mater, Southeastern Oklahoma State University. As a student at SOSU, he was a member of the prestigious Honors Program and served in a variety of campus leadership roles. Baker received his bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2001 before earning his master's degree in education leadership from Oklahoma State University in 2003.