Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Mack Rhoades has found his man.
Rhoades’ tenure as the newest director of athletics at the University of Missouri will begin with Wren Baker at his side. Baker, formerly the deputy director of athletics at Memphis, will take that same position at Missouri, the school announced Wednesday.
“We are very excited Wren is becoming a member of our team,” Rhoades said in a press release. “He is regarded as one of the up-and-coming administrators in the nation and has established an impressive track record of success at every stop of his career path. Throughout his career, Wren has demonstrated terrific work ethic, the ability to genuinely connect with people and uncompromising integrity. He is a high-energy person who will provide great passion and leadership for our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”
Baker, 36, replaces Doug Gillin, who was named Appalachian State’s director of athletics in February.
Baker was hired as the deputy athletic director in Memphis in 2013. During his time there, Memphis received its single largest gift in department history and began a $40-million capital campaign. Suite sales and revenue generated by multimedia rights reached new heights during his tenure as well.
Similarly, Baker secured the largest donation in athletic department history as the director of athletics at Northwest Missouri State where he worked for two years. The donation funded improvements to the football stadium, and Baker’s hiring of coach Adam Dorrel helped the Bearcats to a Division-II football national championship in 2013.
Previously, Baker was the first-ever A.D. at Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla. He was also the school’s first men’s basketball coach for the Hillcats, going 20-11 in his only season.
Baker took the Rogers State position after becoming the youngest principal in the state of Oklahoma at 26 years old. He also previously worked as a basketball operations assistant at Oklahoma State under legendary basketball coach Eddie Sutton. Baker received his master’s at Oklahoma State after attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University for his bachelor’s degree.
“I am honored to be joining the Mizzou family and am grateful to Mack Rhoades for the opportunity,” said Baker. “The University of Missouri has a tremendous reputation and Mack is considered one of the best and brightest leaders in collegiate athletics. Our family is looking forward to returning to the Show-Me State and joining Mack’s team as we build on a proud and prestigious athletic tradition.”
Last month, Rhoades said the duties of the new deputy athletic director might differ from those of Gillin under former Missouri A.D. Mike Alden.
“I think the initial focus will certainly be on our external units, meaning fundraising, communications, marketing, promotions, licensing, merchandise, ticket sales, ticket operations,” Rhoades said.
Baker will take his position at Missouri on June 8.