Wren Baker has been the athletic director at the University of North Texas since 2016, but before that he was deputy athletic director at MU.
Because of his positions at both universities, Baker offers an unusual perspective on the upcoming Homecoming game Oct. 9.
So, what do we need to know about Baker?
He is from Valliant, Oklahoma, a small town in the southeast corner of the state. He attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University where he began coaching a basketball team as part of a class.
“The basketball coach was actually teaching the class, and he offered to give me a chance to help the basketball program,” Baker said.
From there, he worked at various athletic departments including those at Oklahoma State, Rogers State University, Northwest Missouri State, the University of Memphis, MU and ultimately the University of North Texas.
Baker came to MU in 2015 and worked as the deputy athletic director until 2016 when Athletic Director Mack Rhoades left and Baker was named interim athletic director.
But Baker moved to the University of North Texas one month later after being named Missouri’s interim athletic director.
He said he made the switch because “it’s about 2½ hours from where I grew up and a little over an hour from where my wife grew up.” He said he also saw the North Texas athletic program as “a place with a ton of potential.”
Since he started at North Texas, the athletic department has secured 14 conference or division championships. During the 2018-19 seasons, every North Texas team achieved a winning season for the first time in the history of the school.
Baker said he felt the North Texas program was “somewhere that I could come in and work with the president and the head coaches and the students.”
He said the best part of his job is working directly with athletes.
While Baker has not returned to Columbia since leaving for Texas, he said he is excited to come back for Homecoming.
“We all probably think our [homecoming] is the most special,” he said, “but Missouri’s always felt really special because of the origination of the tradition there.”
He said he is also looking forward to bringing his kids to the parade and reuniting with donors he met while at MU.
“We won’t be favored to win, or necessarily expected to win,” he said about North Texas, “but we’ll definitely be coming in trying to win. And we’re going to try and give the Tigers a tough game and see what happens.”