|Brian Baker Biography|
2006 Atlantic Sun Men's Coach of the Year Brian Baker is entering in his ninth full season as the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at Gardner-Webb University.
In only the Runnin' Bulldogs third season in the Big South Conference, the GWU cross country and track & field teams continued to succeed in both the athletic events and in the classroom in 2010-11.
GWU's men's and women's cross country teams both had strong seasons in 2010, as the women's team, who were all returners from the previous season, finished in sixth-place overall at the 2010 Big South Championship meet. On the men's side, comprised of five freshmen and five returners, GWU finished ninth overall as a team.
While both teams' battled through injuries and tough competition throughout the season, setting individual personal best times throughout the year, the Runnin' Bulldogs were also rewarded for their work in the classroom. Seniors Laura Scott and Paul Steinke both earned a spot on the 2010 Big South All-Academic Teams, while for the GWU women's cross country team earned USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Honors.
The 2010 indoor track & field season was highlighted by the breaking of four GWU school records, 11 individuals earning all-conference honors and the setting of over 60 personal best records throughout the season. Hutschalik set the school record in the weight throw event with a mark of 19.27 meters at the conference championships, while sophomore Josiah Stanton-Brooks set a new GWU record in the 1000 meter run with a time of 2:32.52 at the Liberty Open. On the women's side, sophomore thrower Ashlei Alexander set new school records in both the shot put (13.41 meters) and the weight throw (16.19 meters) at the Big South Championships.
Earning all-conference honors for the 2011 season was Alexander, who won the shot put event (13.41 meters), senior Carrie Long, who took second in the pole vault event (3.60 meters), Sarah Herd, who placed third in the high jump (1.68 meters), and the 4x400 meter relay team of T'Keyah Bell, Cherish Richardson, Amara Isbell and Ivana Hughes earned all-conference honors as well with a second-place finish overall (3:56.02). On the men's side, Hutschalik picked up a first-place finish in the hammer throw (19.27 meters), senior Johnathan Rucker recorded a third-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (8.09), junior Travis Rogers placed third in the weight throw (17.49 meters) and Stanton-Brooks earned a second-place finish in the 800 meter run (1:55.19).
During the 2011 outdoor season, GWU sent Hutschalik to the NCAA East Regional Meet, had freshman Carson Sears named the 2011 Big South Freshman of the Year, saw six school records fall, seven different athletes earn all-conference honors and over 60 personal best marks set throughout the season. Senior Diana Palka set a new GWU record in the women's 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 11:20.46 at the Carolina's Cup, while both Ann-Marie Howell and Carrie Long set a new women's pole vault record with a mark of 3.75 meters. Alexander set a new record in the shot put event at the Big South Championships with a distance of 13.88 meters, while Hutschalik reset his GWU school record in the hammer throw with a new best mark of 61.08 meters. Rucker set a new school record in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.39, while Stanton-Brooks set a school record in the 1500 meter run with a time of 3:56.44.
Receiving all-conference honors was Alexander, who took first-place in the shot put (13.88 meters) and second-place in the hammer (49.97 meters), while Howell placed second in the pole vault (3.70 meters) and freshman Kristen Hurley earned all-conference with third-place finish in the women's heptathlon (4179 points). On the men's side Hutschalik picked up a first-place finish in the hammer throw (60.81 meters), Rucker placed second in the 110-meter hurdles (14.40) and Clint McManus placed second in the pole vault event (4.60 meters). Sears earned all-conference honors and was tabbed the 2011 Big South Men's Freshman of the Year for his second-place finishes in both the hammer (57.39 meters) and the discus throw events (46.60 meters).
In the classroom, both senior Carrie Long and redshirt-senior Christoph Hutschalik were named both the Big South Indoor Track & Field Scholar-Athletes of the Year, as well as the Big South Outdoor Track & Field Scholar-Athletes for the season, putting both on the indoor and outdoor Big South All-Academic Teams.
Long, who was a nominee for both the 2011 Big South Woman of the Year and the 2011 NCAA Woman of the Year, received the Big South Conference's prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence, graduating from GWU with a perfect 4.00 grade point average in Biology.
In the fall cross country season, both the men's and women's teams finished in eighth-place respectively at the 2009 Big South Conference Meet, while juniors Laura Scott and Jason Wenzel were both named to the 2009 Big South All-Academic Teams. Wenzel, who holds a perfect 4.00 cumulative grade point average, while working toward a degree in Economics and Finance, was named the 2009 Big South Cross Country Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The 2009-10 indoor track & field season was highlighted by the breaking of four GWU school records, four individuals earning all-conference honors and the setting of a prolific amount of personal best records throughout the season. Junior Evan Brusich set the new GWU school record in the men's heptathlon with 4780 points at the conference championships meet, while fellow teammate Nick Kelly set a new school record in the 1-mile run with a time of 4:18.32 at the Big South Indoor Championships. Redshirt-junior Christoph Hutschalik also set a new GWU record at the conference meet, as he turned in a school record distance of 17.80 meters (58'04.75") in the men's weight throw event. GWU's relay unit of Kelly, Josiah Stanton-Brooks, Charlie and Paul Steinke set a new school record in the distance medley relay, turning in a time of 10:29.47 at the Niswonger Invitational hosted by ETSU on January 22-23.
Brusich took third in the men's heptathlon to earn all-conference recognition, joining redshirt-sophomore Christoph Hutschalik who garnered all-conference honors with his third-place finish in the weight throw event. On the women's side, junior Carrie Long placed third overall in the women's pole vault event to earn all-conference honors for the third time in her career at GWU, while freshman thrower Ashlei Alexander picked up all-conference honors with a second-place finish in the women's shot put event at the conference championship meet.
Senior Kayla Morgan and Hutschalik also earned postseason conference awards for their work in the classroom, as each was named to their respective Big South All-Academic Teams.
Like the 2009-10 indoor season, the 2010 outdoor season was highlighted by an abundant of strong individual performances week-in and week-out. While both the men's and women's teams each finished seventh overall in the team standings at the 2010 Big South Outdoor Championships, the individual performances throughout the season were very strong as two student-athletes - Paul Steinke and Christoph Hutschalik - qualified for the NCAA East Regoinals meet, four school records were broken, four student-athletes earned all-conference honors and over forty-five personal records were set during the spring season.
Sophomore distance runner Nick Kelly set a new GWU school record in the 5000 meter run with a time of 14:57.94 at the Charlotte 49er Classic, the Bulldogs first outdoor meet of the season. Junior Diana Palka also set a new school record in the opening meet, as she turned in a time of 11:48.77 in the 3000-meter steeplechase event. Fellow teammate Christoph Hutschalik broke his own GWU school record in the men's hammer throw, as he turned in a mark of 59.05 meters (193'9") at the Georgia Tech Invitational, while on the women's side senior thrower Brieanna Thompson also set a school record in the hammer throw with a mark of 51.25 meters (168'2").
At the 2010 Big South Outdoor Championships, junior Evan Brusich picked up all-conference recognition with his second-place finish in the decathlon, while freshman Clint McManus garnered all-conference honors with a third-place finish in the men's pole vault event. Senior sprinter Paul Steinke won the 400 meter hurdles event with a time of 52.17 to earn all-conference recognition, while on the women's side Carrie Long took third-place in the women's pole vault event to be tabbed all-conference.
Both Paul Steinke and Carrie Long also received postseason conference honors for their work in the classroom, as both were named to the 2010 Big South All-Academic Team for the outdoor track and field season.
In its first year in the Big South Conference, the cross country and track & field programs all faired well in 2008-09, as the women's cross country team finished 32nd overall at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet, the indoor track & field teams set two new GWU records en route to fifth-place finishes in both men's and women's standings at the conference championship meet, while the Runnin' Bulldogs outdoor track & field teams sent four student-athletes - Kelly Brides, Paul Steinke, Adam Reed and Christoph Hutschalik - to the NCAA East Regionals, setting five new school records along the way.
In 2008-09, the Runnin' Bulldogs had nine all-conference performers in indoor track & field, highlighted by senior Jake Didion being named the men's Most Outstanding Field Performer for the Conference meet, and nine all-conference performers in outdoor track and field.
The Runnin' Bulldogs also received honors for their work in the classroom in 2008-09, as Victoria Argus was named to the All-Conference Academic Team for indoor track & field, while Paul Steinke and Kelly Bridges were both named to the All-Conference Academic Team for the outdoor track & field season.
The 2008 GWU women's cross country team was honored as a 2008 NCAA Division I All-Academic Team by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, one of 160 NCAA Division I schools to receive the honor.
Not to be outdone, the 2008-09 women's indoor track & field team was honored by receiving the Big South Conference Team Sportsmanship Award for the winter season, sharing the award with High Point.
During the 2007-08 season, the Runnin' Bulldogs last in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Baker's group of talented athletes posted 17 school records. Individually, nine conference titles were won during the year. Four of the student-athletes - Caryn Daane, Jerel Langley, Carrie Long and Elizabeth Maxwell had performances that were good enough to allow them to compete at the NCAA East Region.
During the 2006-07 campaign, his team recorded 25 school-record marks. Four student-athletes - Jake Didion, Elliott Haynie, Langley and Maxwell - garnered a spot at the NCAA East Region Championships with Didion and Langley earning top-10 finishes.
The Runnin' Bulldogs had multiple individual champions at the conference meet during the indoor and outdoor campaigns. Cody MacArthur and Maxwell were each named the Most Outstanding Field Events Performer under Baker's guidance.
Baker led a banner year for the Runnin' Bulldogs in 2005-2006. GWU finished third at the 2006 A-Sun Indoor Track & Field Championships on both the men and women's side, setting the bar high for the outdoor championships in Clermont, Florida.
Baker's men blitzed the field en route to the school's first-ever Atlantic Sun Conference team title, running away from the field as MacArthur was named Most Outstanding Field Events Performer and Dobson Collins earned Most Valuable Freshman honors.
The GWU women also finished strong outdoors as the program tied its highest finish ever by taking second.
In the 2005-06 academic year, both the men and women proved to be strong competition throughout the season, with four men and two women garnering A-Sun Athlete of the Week honors.
With the track & field programs each looking strong, and both cross country programs showing steady improvement, Baker has his operation headed in the right direction on all fronts.
Prior to his current role, Baker served the Runnin' Bulldogs as head cross country coach and assistant track coach, but accepted his new role following the conclusion of the 2003 outdoor season.
An expert in the distance events, Baker provides Gardner-Webb Track & Field with a high level of national experience and knowledge - as well as respect - from his many years of involvement at collegiate track's highest level of competition.
During his time in Boiling Springs, the GWU distance corps has improved by leaps and bounds - with each member of the team posting new personal records on a regular basis.
A product of the nation's most storied Division I track program at the University of Arkansas, Baker is no stranger to success on the track or the cross-country course.
Baker, who ran professionally with New Balance until recently, is also quite experienced on the international level as well.
A 1994 graduate of Arkansas with a degree in kinesiology, Baker was a key cog in the Razorbacks' domination of NCAA Division I cross country and track in the early 90's. He ran on Arkansas teams that won national titles in 1990 (Indoor and Cross Country), 1991 (Indoor), 1992 (Cross Country), 1993 (Indoor, Outdoor, and Cross Country), 1994 (Indoor and Outdoor). Twice (1992-93 and 1993-94) the Razorbacks won the NCAA Division I triple crown, with national championships in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. In addition to team success, Baker won individual national titles in the Indoor Distance Medley Relay and the Outdoor 5,000-meter run as a senior (1994).
Baker was a two-time individual conference cross country champion and 5,000-meter run champion as well, winning one title each in the SWC and the SEC. Arkansas captured 12 total conference championships as a team during Baker's career, including three SWC titles and nine SEC titles.
He was an alternate for the 1996 Olympic Team in the 5,000-meter run and finished ninth in the 3,000-meter run at the 1999 World Indoor Track & Field Championships held in Japan. In 1995, he placed 10th in the 5,000-meter run at the World University Games. Baker is also a former member of the U.S. World Cross Country Team (1996 and 1997) and finished third, receiving a bronze medal at the Pan American Games. In 2001, Baker competed in the Chiba Ekiden relays in Japan.
The Batesville (Ark.) High graduate was a three-time prep state champion in cross country and two-time outdoor state champion in the 1,600m run and 3,200m run
In June of 2004, Baker was inducted into the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame. Baker was also inducted into the Batesville Area Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.
Baker has two boys, Quinn Addison Baker (7) and Ian York Baker (5).