New administrator to spearhead external affairs efforts
Wren Baker was named Deputy Director of Athletics/External Affairs in February of 2013. During his twelve year career, Baker has established himself as one of the rising stars in athletics administration. 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, and the ticket office. Baker is the sport supervisor for the men's basketball program 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 posted a 17% increase in football attendance. Memphis set a record for suite sales at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, exceeding the previous record by 50%.
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 also orchestrated a compliance audit and made sweeping changes to enhance Northwest's compliance program.
During his tenure, Northwest made significant advancements in its external operations. Baker secured the largest gift in athletic department history for improvements to the football stadium. He also unveiled a restructured corporate sponsorship program, renegotiated Northwest's broadcast rights agreement, developed an online apparel sales program and completed an all-school Adidas agreement believed to be one of the most lucrative in all of NCAA Division II. Overall, revenues grew by over 60% during Baker's time at Northwest.
The Bearcat sports teams thrived during Baker's tenure. Northwest's 2010-11 women's basketball team advanced to the NCAA DII Final Four and the 2011 football team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals before losing to eventual national champion Pitt State. The 2011-2012 men's basketball team had its best season since 2007-08 by winning the MIAA championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament. The success wasn't limited to game competition. During his tenure Northwest, student-athletes maintained an overall GPA of well over 3.0 and boasted a student-athlete success rate of 83%.
Perhaps the most important role of an athletic administrator is hiring head coaches. Baker has proved to be one of the best at this task. During his career as an athletic director, he has led 13 head coach searches. Those searches resulted in coaches who collectively have an over 70% winning percentage. At Northwest, Baker hired head football coach Adam Dorrel who is 36-6 and won the 2013 NCAA Division II football national championship.
Before joining the Bearcats he spent the previous 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 the 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 at 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 held 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. As a student at SOSU, he was a member of the prestigious Honors Program and served in a variety of campus leadership roles. He earned his masters degree in education leadership from Oklahoma State University in 2003.
He married the former Heather Wetzel on June 18, 2005. They have one daughter, Addisyn, born July 1, 2011.