New administrator to spearhead external affairs efforts
Wren Baker was named Deputy Director of Athletics/External Affairs in February of 2013. At Memphis, Baker assists Director of Athletics Tom Bowen with all facets of administering the athletic program and provides direct oversight to all external areas including athletic development, marketing, Tiger Sports Properties, media relations, the M-Club and the ticket office. Baker is the sport supervisor for the men's basketball program, assists in sports supervision of football and represents the athletic department on numerous campus committees.
Baker has had an immediate impact at Memphis as the athletic department announced the single largest gift in its history and launched a $40 million dollar athletics capital campaign. Men's basketball ranked #10 in the country for attendance and football experienced a 17% increase in attendance. Memphis set a record for suite sales at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, exceeding the previous record by 50%.
Baker orchestrated a restructuring of the external affairs unit that resulted in greater efficiencies and significant cost savings. Multi-media rights revenues set a new record in Baker's first year as well. The Tiger Scholarship Fund grew in membership and donations in his first year.
Prior to coming to Memphis he was the Director of Athletics at Northwest Missouri State University, one of the most successful NCAA Division II athletic programs in the country. Upon arriving to Northwest, he initiated a restructuring of the athletics department that led to greater efficiencies and customer service. Baker secured the largest gift in athletic department history for improvements to the football stadium including a new state-of-the-art video board and sound system. He also made significant changes to the annual fund corporate sponsorship program that led to record revenues. Overall, revenues grew by over 60% during Baker's time at Northwest.
Baker has also proven himself to be a tactical recruiter when it comes to the critical task of hiring successful head coaches. During his career as an athletic director, he has led 13 head coaching searches. Those searches resulted in coaches who have combined to win over 70% of their games. At Northwest, Baker hired head football coach Adam Dorrel who posted a 36-6 record in his first three seasons and won the 2013 NCAA Division II Football National Championship with a perfect record.
Before joining the Bearcats Baker spent five years serving as the Director of Athletics at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma. Baker was the first Athletic Director in RSU history and led the development of one of Oklahoma's most successful collegiate athletic programs. At the time of his naming at RSU, Baker was the youngest athletic director in the country at a four-year university. While at RSU, Baker was also the first men's basketball coach in school history. He promptly led the Hillcats to a 20-11 record in their first year of existence during the 2006-07 campaign. After one season at the helm of the men's basketball program, he stepped down to focus on his administrative duties and the comprehensive growth of the Rogers State athletic program.
Prior to joining Rogers State, Baker became the youngest principal in the state of Oklahoma. At 26, he was named principal and athletic director for Valliant Public Schools in his hometown of Valliant, Oklahoma.
Before entering administration Baker served as a basketball operations assistant in the Oklahoma State University athletic department from 2001 to 2005, coordinating a variety of initiatives under the direction of former head men's basketball coach Eddie Sutton. During his four-year tenure at OSU, the men's basketball team recorded a 102-30 record that included a trip to the Final Four during the 2004 season.
Baker attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University on an academic scholarship and received his bachelor's in 2001. He earned his master's degree in educational leadership from Oklahoma State University in 2003.
He married the former Heather Wetzel on June 18, 2005. They have one daughter, Addisyn (3), and are expecting a second child this fall.