UT Arlington athletic director Jim Baker gives us an update of everything going on this Spring.
This is an exciting and busy time for UT Arlington Athletics.
Coastal Carolina has accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt beginning with the 2016-17 season.
Derrick Grubbs, Associate AD for Game Production and Fan Experience, was inducted into Bryan Independent School District Hall of Honor Saturday.
UT Arlington finished just two points behind first-place South Alabama in the all-sports standings.
Jim Baker joined the University of Texas at Arlington as director of intercollegiate athletics Feb. 1, 2012, the same day the university and department opened the $78 million, 7,000-seat College Park Center.
Since that day, Baker has put his own stamp on the department, spearheading numerous program upgrades and leading the way in the areas of sales and staffing, which have led to unprecedented growth.
One of his first projects was to upgrade the department's baseball and softball facilities. He oversaw the development and construction of indoor hitting and practice facilities for each team, which opened with the start of the 2013 season. Baker then announced the plans for a $5.5 million project to build clubhouses for each of those teams in September of 2013 which will be ready for the 2015 seasons.
He was also instrumental in the department's reaching an agreement with Nelligan Sports Marketing to handle its sponsorship and media rights. That contract has resulted in the largest one-year sponsorship total in UT Arlington athletics history as well as the signing of the largest contract with a sponsor in Nelligan Sports Marketing history.
The department has also seen record numbers in attendance and sales as UT Arlington in its first full season in the College Park Center. Baker has also made it a priority to add staff to sports programs and administration to insure the growth of the department continues on an upward track.
He helped the university transition from the Western Athletic Conference to the Sun Belt Conference which the Mavericks joined on July 1, 2013. He is active in the leadership of the conference as he a member of league-governing committees.
He has made two head coaching hires since taking over the department, naming former All-American Kristie Fox to lead the softball program and Krista Gerlich, who won three conference titles in seven years at West Texas A&M, to lead the women's basketball team.
In just his first 15 months on the job, he oversaw the completion of a regular season championship for men's basketball and a conference tournament title for the baseball team in 2012. During the 2012-13 year, the men's cross country and baseball team added conference titles while the men's basketball team advanced to the championship game of the WAC Tournament. That team also made its second consecutive postseason appearance which was the first time that had happened in school history.
Baker previously served as associate athletic director for events, operations and sports programs at the University of Texas, where he helped direct significant growth in one of the nation's most recognized athletics programs.
In his 20 years with the Longhorns, Baker had wide-ranging responsibilities, from directing merchandising and concessions, to overseeing more than a dozen athletic facilities construction projects. He had chief responsibility for the Texas golf and baseball programs and directed all game-day activities for football.
Baker earned his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio, and held positions with Gladieux Food Service at Ohio State University and the University of Florida before joining Texas in 1991.