MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When West Virginia University’s 13th director of athletics Wren Baker was introduced to Mountaineer Nation on Monday, one of the first people he shook hands with was Hall of Fame coach Bob Huggins.
“I said hello to him at the press conference, and he came over to practice, and we chatted for a few minutes,” Huggins said Tuesday.
The Bear and the new AD had a pair of short interactions on Monday in their times meeting each other in person.
Huggins’ reputation precedes itself: 922 wins, multiple Final Four appearances and a recent induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Baker has also built up a solid reputation, as well, and Huggins had heard about it.
“Everybody who called me said you’re getting a terrific AD,” said Huggins. “That’s coaches that he’s had an association with. And, I didn’t call them. They called me. They called me to say, ‘Hey… This guy’s really good.'”
Baker’s administrative reputation is built on being a successful fundraiser and as someone with a good eye for coaching talent. His hires at North Texas. According to WVU, Baker led 18 coaching searches while in charge of the Mean Green, and his hires have a combined winning percentage nearing 70 percent.
“You’re getting the right guy,” Huggins said he heard from other coaches. “I felt really good about it before I ever met Wren, because of what everybody had to say about him.”
Baker has a history of working with historic basketball coaches. He worked under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State in the early 2000s. Sutton is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Eddie Sutton’s one of the great coaches of all time,” Huggins said. “I coached against Eddie several times.”
Baker has one year of college basketball coaching experience under his belt. He won 20 games a Division II Rogers State while doubling as the school’s director of athletics.
The Oklahoma native is the fourth AD at West Virginia since Huggins returned to his alma mater in 2007.