Sunday, January 23, 2011

Process Underway for New Athletic Director

The search process for director of athletics Wren Baker’s replacement is underway. Rogers State University is currently in the early stages of determining the ideal candidate for the position.

This will be just the second athletic director in RSU’s history, so the first step before moving forward is completing a candidate profile that would best correlate with the desired applicant for the position. RSU President Dr. Larry Rice is composing a profile that will outline requirements of the job description, qualifications and duties.

Once completed, the university will post the job opening and begin accepting applications for RSU’s next athletic director. President Rice will form a screening committee that will take part in finding the right applicant for the job. He says the candidate pool will consist of internal and external applications up for the job.

Budget constraints for the university will come into focus moving forward in hiring the rightful candidate. As of yet, there has been no discussion of what the next athletic director would receive but President Rice said the university will stay within the budget constraints.

Coming in the gate, the new AD will have quite a load to carry.

“We still have a lot of work to be done on facilities, and we have a lot work to be done to be successful in getting accepted into NCAA Division II,” said Rice.

The university is looking to address and tackle the infrastructure needs of RSU’s athletic facilities, including improving the baseball, softball and soccer facilities. A plan President Rice says is important to finish, before adding new sports to the university.

Sports such as tennis, track & field, wrestling and even football have been up for discussion. Though football is more of a budget constraint, President Rice said the university is still looking to add co-ed sports that will be more affordable as the school’s budget improves.

The new athletic director will also have an immediate impact in assisting and working on the application process for the NCAA Division II transition. While still at the helm, Baker will continue aiding in moving the application forward until he is expected to leave in mid-February.

RSU’s new athletic director will also have big shoes to fill.

Baker has built Rogers State athletics program from the ground up while serving as the school’s first men’s basketball head coach leading the Hillcats to a 20-11 record in its inaugural season.

From Zero to ten in just five years, Baker is responsible for housing ten sports for RSU athletics with the recent addition of men’s and women’s cross county.

Baker’s leadership has launched a developed and widely successful corporate partnership program. He has also guided several fundraising campaigns which led to improvements of RSU’s athletic facilities.

An official date of when the next athletic director will step into office has not been determined yet, but the university’s search for the best applicant is well underway.

“We are very appreciative of the job that Wren Baker has accomplished here since arriving here,” said Rice. “He’s done a good job and laid a great foundation and our goal is to build upon that foundation.”

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