July 17th, 2013

Gene Baker excited to be Assumption's new AD

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Conor Revell

Staff Writer

Gene Baker excited to be Assumption's new AD
Gene Baker was hired back in April / photo submitted by Traci Hall, Director of Communications at Assumption

Gene Baker is hoping to take Assumption’s athletic programs to a different level. And he isn’t just talking about winning.  

“Having the opportunity to be the Assumption athletic director is wonderful,” Baker said. “Even professionally it’s a wonderful opportunity. This position gives me more of what I see as traditional athletic director responsibilities. In a public school the athletic director is more of operations, planning out events, and making sure everyone is eligible. At the private schools you’re working with more abilities to make improvements and program advances.”

Baker comes to Assumption after running the Ponte Vedra High School athletic program in Florida  for the past six years. While he is from New York, his wife hails from Louisville, so he took the Assumption job because he believed it was time for his family to move closer to home.

“The reason we were looking at moving to the area was because it’s home for my wife,” Baker said. “We were feeling a little bit of a need to be connected family-wise. And Louisville is a wonderful place. The other few times we’ve lived here I’ve loved it.”

In high school, Baker was a three-sport star and then played baseball for Austin Peay University, where he was an Academic All-American. He started coaching after college.

With more than 20 years of coaching experience, Baker has been the head coach of the Bristol College and Northern Iowa baseball teams. He coached the University of Louisville’s baseball team from 1991-95 and compiled a record of 120-179.

After Baker was finished coaching baseball, he became athletic director at Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tenn. and the CEO of All American Athlete Consulting in Brentwood, Tenn. Then Baker became the Ponta Verde athletic director in 2007 and CEO of Shark Sports Camp in 2008.

Bobby Blair left Assumption in January for an opportunity in Dallas, allowing Baker to take over.

“The athletic program has done great things before I even got here,” Baker said. “Bobby did a good job, Angela (Passifume) did a good job. We have a great staff of coaches, so I’m now here to help us take that next step whatever it might be.”

While Baker didn’t arrive on campus until the end of the school year, he is impressed and energized by what he has seen so far.

“I love it so far — everybody has been nice since I’ve been here,” he said. “Every time somebody is hired, they look to see how I’m different than the predecessor. What I think they see with me is somebody who has a higher level of athletic department experience than what we had prior.”

With that said, Baker feels appreciated by the faculty and administration because his focus won’t be winning. It’ll be about improving the athletic program.

“I’m not the type of guy who’s just focused on winning,” Baker said. “It’s a whole program issue. That fits right with the Assumption mission of mind, body, and spirit with the girls. It’s a matter of perspective. We can go out, work hard and not win, and I can still see that as a successful day.”

With August quickly approaching, so is the start of school. Baker has some goals he’d like to see accomplished during the next academic year.

“My goal is to complete a handful of projects that were taken on but not quite brought to fruition,” he said. “I want to complete things that have been started. A lot of it is invisible to anybody outside. We want to improve our sound systems. We want to put up a portable flag post. We just want to complete the projects. I want our athletic facilities to become a showplace. When somebody comes on our campus or drives by I want them to think, ‘Wow, what a great place. They take care of that place.’ ”

Baker said he’ll leave winning up to Assumption’s coaches and worry about the other things the program needs to accomplish.

“I won’t ever have a goal for my teams,” Baker said. “The only goals I will ever have is that they win as much as they should. I don’t know how much we should win. It’d be easy for me to say that I’d like to see half of my programs win state championships. State championships are hard. You have to be good, health and lucky to win state championships. It’s really an unfair burden to put on my coaches and especially our athletes.”


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