West Virginia University men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins met the newly hired Director of Athletics Wren Baker on Monday at his introductory press conference before the two briefly chatted at practice later in the day, according to Huggins.
However, Huggins did not need to meet Baker to know the athletics department was in good hands. Once the news broke in late November that Baker was going to be the athletics director, Huggins’ phone started ringing.
“Everybody who called me said, ‘You’re getting a terrific AD,’ and that’s coaches he’s had associations with, and I didn’t call them they call me,” said Huggins. “They called me to say, ‘Hey, listen, this guy here is really good. I mean, you’re getting the right guy. So, I felt really good about it before I ever met Wren because of what everybody had to say about him.”
Baker has a unique journey to becoming the Director of Athletics and starts on the basketball court. He was a graduate assistant and then basketball operations assistant for the Cowboys' men's basketball program under legendary head coach Eddie Sutton while pursuing a master's degree in education leadership.
He grabbed his degree and at age 26, was the youngest principal in Oklahoma history. The following year, Baker became the first athletic director at Rogers State in Claremore (OK), where he was also the school’s first men's basketball coach. His team went 20-11 in its first season, then Baker relinquished his coaching duties to concentrate on his administrative duties. RSU teams combined to post a nearly 70% winning percentage during Baker’s tenure despite being a start-up athletic program.
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