Kent Baker has been named the head coach of the Alfred State Cross Country and Track & Field programs. Baker will begin his duties immediately.
"We are excited to announce Coach Baker as the new leader of the Cross Country and Track & Field programs," commented athletic director Dr. Kelly Higgins. "He has big shoes to fill, but he brings the breadth and depth of successful experiences on multiple levels of competition we were looking for to build upon our programs strong foundation and lead the program successfully into our new NCAA future!"
College president Dr. Skip Sullivan echoed Higgins. "Alfred State is excited to have someone with the experience that Kent Baker brings. As a new era in Cross Country and track begins we are in good hands."
Baker is excited about the opportunities at Alfred State. "It is a tremendous honor to follow Gary Moore and I will give my greatest effort to continue his legacy of academic and athletic excellence. I am equally excited to begin working with the Alfred State student-athletes, assistant coaches, athletic administration and college community."
Baker joins Alfred State after spending the last three three years as the head coach at Keiser University (West Palm Beach, FL). At Keiser, he coached eight All-Americans during the 2014-15 season.
Prior to coaching at Keiser, Baker was a very successful high school coach at American Heritage School (Plantation, FL), Pinecrest School (Fort Lauderdale, FL), and Gulf Coast High School (Naples, FL). In 2010 and 2011 he was named the girls Coach of the Year by the Miami Herald News and the Sun-Sentinel News. In 2011 he was also named the girls Florida High School Coach of the Year in Class 2A.
Since 2004, Baker has been Director of High-Speed Performance where he conducts private and group sports specific training sessions, along with consultations with schools regarding athletics and physical fitness.
"My first priority is to establish a great working relationship with coaching staff and athletic administration. Hopefully we will begin the plan to give all of our student-athletes to best opportunity to achieve their academic and athletic goals. We will also establish realistic short term and long term team goals for the cross country and track programs and build towards establishing a nationally competitive NCAA DIII program."
A native of Detroit, MI, Baker earned his bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan and followed by post-graduate work in Physical Education and Athletic Administration at Central Michigan.
Baker began his coaching career at the collegiate level, serving as an Assistant Coach for Track and Field at Central Michigan University. His roles starting out including coaching the sprint events, meet management, academic advisor, and head recruiter.
After two years at Central Michigan, Baker accepted the Track and Field and Cross Country head coaching position at the University of Toledo. While at Toledo, Baker administered all phases of the Men's Track and Cross Country program and during his 13 year run, the varsity programs enjoyed some of their most successful seasons in school history. At Toledo, Baker produced five NCAA Division I All-Americans, four Olympic trial qualifiers, fifty Mid-American Conference (MAC) champions, six MAC conference record holders, five MAC conference athletes of the year, and Toledo's first Olympian, 110m hurdler Paul Sehzue.
Coach Baker is married to Adrian James and has one daughter, Rachael James-Baker who is a varsity member of the women's tennis team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Baker replaces Gary Moore who had been at the helm of the Pioneer program since 1978.
What others are saying about Coach Baker
"I have worked alongside Kent Baker and no one knows how to transform an athletic program like he does. He is an excellent recruiter and I am thrilled that he has the opportunity to put the overall finish on the Alfred State track and field and cross country athletic program. I am confident that Kent will bring with him the mindset that will immediately energize the people and team he has to manage."