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    • Harry

      Welcome Wren Baker new UNT AD!   07/29/2016

      DENTON (UNT), Texas − Today, the University of North Texas System Board of Regents voted unanimously to appoint Wren Baker as the new UNT Vice President and Director of Athletics, effective Aug. 22. Baker, who currently is the interim Director of Athletics at the University of Missouri, will be officially introduced to the UNT community during a press conference at 10 a.m., Monday Aug. 1, 2016, in The Hub Club (Level 3) of Apogee Stadium. "Wren Baker's passion for college sports is unmatched, and he is a proven effective leader with critical experience in hiring coaches, efficiently administering an athletics department, increasing support across the board and taking care of student-athletes," UNT President Neal Smatresk said. "I believe he will move athletics at UNT to the next level of success, and I am excited for the future." Read what athletics leaders are saying about Wren Baker. In 2015, Baker began his tenure as the Deputy Director of Athletics at Missouri, where he was responsible for assisting the athletic director with the administration of the SEC athletics program. He led the athletic department's external relations team, including development, marketing, licensing, the ticket office and strategic communications. During his first year at Missouri, Baker oversaw the implementation of a new annual fund model and restructured the external team. "I am grateful to President Smatresk, the search committee and the UNT System Board of Regents for their confidence in me, and I am humbled to serve our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans," Baker said. "I consider it a great honor and privilege to join the Mean Green family. I look forward to working with all of our fans and constituents to build an athletics program that will be recognized nationally for competitive excellence and academic achievement. UNT and the Denton community provide everything we need to be successful, and I can't wait to get started." Prior to arriving at Missouri, Baker served as the Deputy Athletics Director from 2013 to 2015 at the University of Memphis, where he oversaw external relations and assisted in department operations. At Memphis, Baker initiated a complete reorganization that resulted in improved efficiencies and hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings while increasing revenues in ticket sales, annual fund support, major gifts and multimedia rights, including setting a record for football suite sales, major gifts and overall donations. Baker served as the Director of Athletics at NCAA Division II power Northwest Missouri State University from 2010-2013. He also served as the first Director of Athletics and Head Men's Basketball Coach at Rogers State University, where he led the formation of the athletic department while posting an inaugural 20-11 record before stepping down to become the full-time Athletics Director. Baker will succeed Rick Villarreal, who stepped down in June after nearly 16 years as UNT's Director of Athletics. UNT's Department of Athletics has 16 NCAA Division I teams competing in Conference USA, including football, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The Mean Green have earned 123 conference championships and four national championships. read more:  https://news.unt.edu/news-releases/wren-baker-named-unt-vice-president-and-director-athletics DENTON (UNT), Texas − Today, the University of North Texas System Board of Regents voted unanimously to appoint Wren Baker as the new UNT Vice President and Director of Athletics, effective Aug. 22, 2016. Here’s what some are saying: Joe Castiglione, University of Oklahoma Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics: "I have known Wren Baker for many years throughout his career journey, and I can say with total confidence that he is truly one of the rising leaders within intercollegiate athletics and will do a great job at North Texas. I've been a huge fan of Wren's since I watched him build the Rogers State athletics program from scratch. The blend of Wren's background in coaching, administrative experience and character, along with his innate ability to develop positive relationships with all key stakeholders within a campus community, will continue to serve him well. Wren and his wife, Heather, will be key contributors to the enhancement of the student-athlete experience and in strengthening the entire Mean Green athletic program. Congratulations to Wren and UNT." Michael L. Aresco, Commissioner of the American Athletic Conference: "This is a spectacular hire. Having known and worked with Wren while he was at Memphis, he is an extremely experienced, personable and capable executive and will do a great job for North Texas. The college sports landscape has never been more challenging, and Wren's intelligence and vision will be enormously important to North Texas and Conference USA." Mack Rhoades, Baylor University Vice President for Athletics: "Wren Baker is a rising leader in our industry. He is an extremely talented administrator and person of great character. His background in coaching and administration and dedication to the student-athlete experience will serve UNT Athletics terrifically well. He will establish positive relationships with student-athletes, coaches, staff, the University community, alumni/fans/donors, media and other key constituents. Wren is the perfect person to lead North Texas Athletics and the UNT family will love Wren, his wife Heather and their two children, Addisyn and Reagan." Bubba Cunningham, University of North Carolina Director of Athletics: "The University of North Texas has made a great hire in Wren Baker. Wren has an uncanny ability to relate to people and create a positive, enthusiastic, and winning attitude with students, coaches, fans and alumni. He has a wonderful family and will be an outstanding addition to the University of North Texas community. His affinity for students and coaches is heartfelt and genuine. Wren will be a galvanizing leader for the campus community, and I wish him and his family all the best. Congratulations to all." Eddie Sutton, Former Oklahoma State Men's Basketball Head Coach: “Wren is a terrific choice to lead the UNT athletics program. He is one of the brightest and hardest working staff members I've had work for me. He was wonderful for us at OSU. Our coaches and players loved him. He will be a great ambassador for the university and community. He will be tireless in his pursuit for excellence. I am happy for Wren and North Texas." Tom Bowen, University of Memphis Director of Athletics: "Wren Baker is one of the finest people I have had the pleasure to work with. He is a bright and highly talented athletic leader and is the perfect choice for North Texas. I am very happy for Wren and his family and know he will do a fantastic job."
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Harry

Getting to know the newest members of C-USA

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GIVE A HEARTY welcome to the five institutions of higher football education joining Conference USA, aka The League of Misfit Schools.

These schools, described below, are vaulting from humble roots into some of the richest 17 years of mid-major tradition you will ever find. And get this: All five have football programs ahead of that at the departing University of Memphis.

(Yes, two of the newcomers haven't played a down of major-college football. As Marshall basketball coach Tom Herrion would say, "You can laugh.")

The five schools are Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Florida International, Texas-San Antonio and North Carolina-Charlotte. They join in the summer of 2013.

(We think Old Dominion will join the fray, once folks there get used to the idea of traveling beyond Williamsburg for road games.)

This quintet will discover a number of benefits of C-USA membership, such as an increase in television revenue (from near zero, generally) to an increase in bowl opportunities (though that BCS access thing is closing) to relative stability (two are escaping the WAC-tanic). Charlotte and UTSA win the best springboard into major-college football since Marshall mashed the MAC.

Fans of the new schools will see better football and will discover that, no, their sports teams won't be shuttling to East Carolina and/or El Paso every week. This is also a great league in which to hire coaches with personality, a checkered past or both.

They'll discover that in C-USA, you don't lose your shirt to play in a bowl. For example, Marshall played in the oft-pilloried Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in the even-more-pilloried Tropicana Field, and had a $54,000 surplus to show for it.

(West Virginia lost $200,000-plus in one of those open-the-vault BCS bowl games? Really?)

So, as Conference USA bids adieu to Houston, Memphis, Central Florida and Southern Methodist, what will Marshall fans see from the newbies? Let's take a look.

READ MORE: http://wvgazette.com/Sports/todayssportscolumn/201205060169

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One thing the article failed to mention is Four of the five schools bring a market size ranked among the top 36 in the country and totaling over two million more TV households than the league held this past year. The CUSA should see a major improvement its media revenues and exposure. If ODU commits that wll bring an additional 718,750 households. Five of the six schools are in the fastest growing media markets. Three of the six schools are media markets without competition from other major Universities or Pro teams.

Edited by Mark Gommesen
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What I don't understand is the negative comments by the Marshall fans to the article. Would anyone care if Marshall even left the C-USA? WE ARE NORTH TEXAS!

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