MARYVILLE, Mo. – Northwest Missouri State University announced today Wren Baker, who has served as the institution’s director of athletics since February 2011, has resigned from his position, effective Feb. 22.
Baker has accepted the deputy athletic director of external affairs position at the University of Memphis and will begin those duties in early March.
Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said the University will conduct a national search to fill the director of athletics position. Lori Hopkins has agreed to serve as Northwest’s interim athletics director.
“During his tenure, Wren has led efforts for implementing a comprehensive approach to address increased revenue streams, and the results have been fantastic,” Jasinski said. “Wren has led through very difficult circumstances and has helped shape our culture for the positive. Three successful coaching searches have been led by Wren, and he has built a team environment. While he has high expectations on the field, more importantly, he has helped enhance an environment built to meet and exceed NCAA and institutional rules and an athletic program operating with integrity. I am most appreciative of Wren’s leadership.”
While providing leadership to 15 Northwest athletics programs and during his previous tenure as the director of athletics at Rogers State University, Baker established himself as a high achiever in athletics administration. Baker said his transition to an NCAA Division I school allows him to further pursue his career aspirations.
“Our family has greatly enjoyed our time as Bearcats,” Baker said. “I am thankful for the time we’ve had at this tremendous institution. Northwest is a special place, and the people here have been great to us. Sometimes opportunity knocks when you least expect it. This is the case with the position at Memphis.
While we are honored and excited about this incredible opportunity, we know we will miss our Northwest family. When we arrived at Northwest, everywhere we went people would say ‘Once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat.’ Without question, we will always be Bearcats.”
Hopkins is associate athletics director for compliance and student services and senior women’s administrator, a position she’s held since April 2010. Previously she spent nine seasons as a coach for Northwest’s women’s basketball team – first as an assistant coach and then as associate head coach alongside then-head coach Gene Steinmeyer. Hopkins is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University.