Could Wren Baker become WVU’s most popular AD ever?

Prior to becoming WVU’s 13th Athletic Director, Wren Baker serves as the Vice President and Director of Athletics at the University of North Texas. He has gained popularity among fans for his dynamic leadership, strategic vision, and commitment to the overall success of the athletic program. Let’s delve into the life and career of Athletic Director Wren Baker to understand why he has become a beloved figure among fans.

Early Life and Education:

Wren Baker was born and raised with a passion for sports. His journey into the world of athletics administration began with a strong educational foundation. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State in 2001 and in 2003 completed a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in intercollegiate athletic administration from Oklahoma State.

Professional Career:

1. Early Career:

Wren Baker’s early career was marked by various roles in athletic administration, demonstrating his dedication and versatility. He gained experience working in different departments, including compliance, academics, and development, which provided him with a holistic understanding of collegiate athletics.

While at Oklahoma State, Baker was a graduate assistant and basketball operations assistant for the Cowboys’ men’s basketball program under legendary head coach Eddie Sutton. During Baker’s time with OSU, the Cowboys posted a 102-30 record, reaching four NCAA tournaments, and advanced to the 2004 Final Four and the 2005 Sweet Sixteen.

In 2005, he was the principal and athletic director for Valliant Public Schools and, at age 26, was the youngest principal in Oklahoma history!

From 2006-11, Baker served as the first athletic director at Rogers State in Claremore, Oklahoma, where he was also the school’s first men’s basketball coach. His team went 20-11 in his only season at the helm, and RSU teams combined to post a nearly 70% winning percentage despite being a start-up athletic program. During his tenure, Baker developed a full-scale collegiate athletics program.

2. Middle Career:

Before joining the University of North Texas, Baker held key positions at several institutions, showcasing his ability to lead and bring about positive change. His roles included serving as the Athletic Director at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and Deputy Director of Athletics at the University of Memphis. These experiences contributed to his growing reputation as a rising star in collegiate athletics administration.

3. Achievements and Innovations:

Under his leadership, the University of North Texas athletic program saw notable achievements and improvements in various sports. His strategic hiring decisions, commitment to facility upgrades, and emphasis on creating a positive and supportive environment have contributed to the program’s success.

From, Baker led record fundraising years at North Texas as the school registered its four best fundraising years in its history, and the overall top five largest gifts ever at UNT came under Baker’s leadership. He guided North Texas athletics to a school record for fundraising in a single year, nearly doubling the previous department record.

UNT ticket revenue increased by 125% under Baker, and football attendance grew by 71%, while men’s and women’s basketball crowds grew by more than 60%. Additional achievements at North Texas included a five-year strategic plan, new 20-year facilities master plan and lucrative contracts for multimedia rights, licensing, apparel and equipment. 

As an athletic director, he led 16 head coaching searches, and his hires have a combined 70% winning percentage. Baker also led the charge to renovate eight different UNT athletic facilities, while spearheading the design and fundraising for three new facilities including a track and field/soccer stadium, golf practice facility and an indoor practice building.

One of the biggest moments in the history of North Texas Athletics came under his watch, when UNT was invited to join the American Athletic Conference beginning in July 2023.

Leadership Style:

One of the key reasons for Wren Baker’s popularity with fans is his leadership style. He is known for being approachable, transparent, and actively engaged with the university community. Baker’s communication skills and willingness to connect with fans, students, and alumni have helped build a strong sense of community and pride around the athletic program.

Wren is on the sidelines at nearly every game. He’s extremely accessible on social media which has furthered his popularity with the fans.

Commitment to Student-Athlete Welfare:

Wren Baker has consistently emphasized the importance of prioritizing the well-being of student-athletes. This commitment extends beyond the field, focusing on academic success, mental health, and overall personal development.

We’ve seen this most recently in the NCAA denial of RaeQuan Battle’s denial to transfer to WVU. Almost one month to the day after the NCAA denied RaeQuan Battle a waiver for immediate eligibility, the Mountaineers learned Tuesday they’ll be without Battle for the entirety of this season.

Wren has shown the fans that WVU will not give up on RaeQuan and intend to fight the NCAA on their decision.

Fan Engagement and Community Involvement:

Baker’s efforts to enhance fan engagement and community involvement have played a crucial role in his popularity. Whether through social media interactions, town hall meetings, or community outreach programs, he has actively sought to connect with fans and involve them in the success of the athletic program.


Baker has his hands full with the fanbase. After the tumultuous end and resignation of Bob Huggins as WVU basketball coach and Neal Brown’s record and unpopularity with fans, Wren will need to have much improvement on the court and field.

Josh Eilert is off to a rocky start in the 2023-24 basketball season (2-2) with losses to Monmouth and SMU. Neal Brown, however, could secure his future, at least for now, with another win versus Baylor this weekend and a potential bowl win. WVU football was expected to finish dead last in the Big 12 this season and is sitting comfortably in 5th place ahead of Iowa State, Texas Tech, Kansas, TCU, BYU, Baylor, Houston, UCF, and Cincinnati.

WVU baseball had a fantastic season last year and expectations and fan excitement are at an all time high for 2024. WVU women’s basketball is also looking impressive with new coach, Mark Kellogg.

Another big concern is WVU football attendance. Since Covid, WVU game attendance has not recovered. Many factors could be contributing. Price per ticket, team performance, weather, etc. Fans outside the state want a reason to travel to games and fans watching at home hate seeing the upper deck empty. These are some of the basic things we want to see fixed by the AD and WVU.

We wish Wren Baker much success as he continues to lead WVU athletics. We are excited for the future of the Mountaineer program and believe we have the right person to lead us to unparalleled success.