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WVU AD Wren Baker: ‘You Gotta Find Opportunities to Celebrate Past’

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Not many programs have as many distinguished alums and former players that are still relevant in media and sports as WVU does, but is West Virginia leveraging those big names as well as they could be? This was a topic ask of new athletic director Wren Baker at his introductory press conference.

The comments by Pat McAfee and others are well documented at this point, but WVSN posed the question about the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with past greats of WVU’s team, especially the football and basketball programs, and how he planed to do this.

“We had a little of that when I onboarded at UNT as well. Initially spent a lot of time just listening to those guys, listen to their experience. You gotta find opportunities to celebrate the past,” Baker said about connecting the present and future of WVU athletics to the success of the past.

He then continued to hit on the criticism several past greats have levied about not feeling welcome around the program for whatever reason. “You gotta continue to provide avenues for them to come back, make it easy for them to come back, show them love, show them appreciation,” offered Baker as his view on how to handle alums and making them feel once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer, as the saying goes.

Time will be the indicator if Baker practices what he is preaching upon arriving in Morgantown, but his actions like reaching out to McAfee less than 24 hours after his hiring was announced certainly shows he understands the importance of being on good terms with as many alums as possible. Baker even expressed that repairing relationships with alums is on his list of priorities throughout his first 100 days at his new job. It also appears he’s aware this may not be as easy as it sounds and there may be some alums who displeasured upon first speaking.

West Virginia football legend Rasheed Marshall spoke about his perspective on this on the most recent episode of the WVSN podcast All Three Phases with host Mike Asti and how he sees both sides any alums who have been unhappy with their relationship with the athletic department over the years.

All Three Phases: Rasheed Marshall Sees Both Sides to WVU’s Relationship with Alums

WVU basketball alum John Flowers attended Baker’s press conference in person.

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