MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — “Embrace” was the word used by new WVU Director of Athletics Wren Baker a lot during his introductory press conference on Monday morning.
“Name, Image and Likeness is about opportunities. I think it’s important that we embrace it. That we promote it,” Baker said.
“I think it starts with making sure that the student-athletes that are here are having a great experience. In any form of talent acquisition retention is critical,” Baker added. “We want our student-athletes that are in our program now to have a great experience; to fill like they’re being prepared more for athletics and getting a degree. We want to prepare them for life.”
“With the portal, we have to provide all the access, all the technology in the world to see who’s going in,” Baker said. “It’s certainly a different world. I spend more time on it than I thought I’d ever would. This job has evolved over my 20 years.”
Ever since Shane Lyons was let go last month, WVU Interim AD Rob Alsop and President Gordon Gee wanted to ensure that the next Director of Athletics would prioritize and embrace the new era of college athletics.
Baker played a vital role in helping get North Texas into the American Athletic Conference during the next realignment period. West Virginia University hired the same search firm that the Big 12 Conference had to hire Brett Yormark. It’s about finding someone who can lead the university in the new era of college athletics.
“When we began this search, we were determined to find someone who could lead in the modern realities of intercollegiate athletics and build on the legacy of his predecessors,” Gee said.