Wren Baker Reflects on First Year as Athletics Director

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Mean Green Nation,

It is with great enthusiasm I write this letter. August has always been my favorite month of the year. Our campus is buzzing with activity as students return to Denton in droves and our coaches and student-athletes are hard at work preparing for a new season.

This year will be an exciting one for North Texas Athletics. One year ago, I officially started in my role as Vice President and Director of Athletics. Much has transpired over the past 365 days. One of our very first initiatives was to develop a new mission statement, “Building Champions and Preparing Leaders through the pursuit of perfection in academics, athletics and life.” It’s simple, concise, and serves as a guidepost for everything we do moving forward. When considering decisions and opportunities, we’ve challenged everyone in our department to ask the question “Does this help us build champions and prepare leaders?”

With a clearly defined mission, we’ve made great strides together in the past year. Some of our notable accomplishments include:

  • Have finished five-year strategic plan focused on our primary mission to “Build Champions and Prepare Leaders” which will be unveiled in the next few days
  • Completed design and are currently out for bid for new track/field/soccer stadium
  • Near completion of athletic facility master plan to be unveiled in September
  • Completion of design for an Indoor Practice Facility for football and other outdoor sports to be unveiled in September
  • Launched quiet phase of fundraising campaign to fund Indoor  Practice Facility
  • On pace to significantly exceed best fundraising fiscal year in athletics history
  • Football team qualified for 9th bowl game in school history
  • Hired new head coaches in men’s basketball (Grant McCasland) and Swimming/Diving (Brittany Roth)
  • Completed staff reorganization focused on our mission that includes several improvements to the overall student-athlete experience
  • Worked cooperatively with Campus Dining to make significant improvements to student-athlete meals and hired first nutritionist dedicated to athletics in school history
  • Launched an innovative Creative Advisory Committee
  • Renovated a multitude of athletic facilities including:
    • Men’s basketball Super Pit Locker Room
    • Women’s basketball Super Pit Locker Room
    • Athletics Center Lobby
    • Football Locker Room
    • Football Meeting areas
    • Athletics Center Coaches and Administrative offices
    • Ernie Kuehne Basketball Practice Facility
  • Revamped and launched new North Texas Letterwinners Association including a dedicated website, governing structure and expanded benefits for active members.
  • Made significant investments in our video department to improve quality of games streamed from North Texas Athletic facilities
  • Successfully executed football series agreements to improve future home schedules in Apogee Stadium
  • Negotiated and executed multi-media rights agreement that grew net revenue in that area by over 50%
  • Restructured Mean Green ticket office to provide better customer service as well as developing a new focus on outbound ticket sales and revenue generation
  • Heightened focus on quality and quantity of digital and graphic content released including the creation of a Director of Creative Content position
  • Implemented an inclusive zero-based budgeting process to ensure every available resource is used wisely
  • Implemented comprehensive student-athlete exit interview process so we can measure the student-athlete experience in each of our programs
  • Created and implemented “The Scrappys,” our first banquet/event focused on celebrating the successes of our student-athletes
  • Eleven of our 14 teams achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher

Such accomplishments aren’t possible without comprehensive effort, work and support. Every student, faculty and staff member on our campus, every fan who purchases a ticket, every donor who supports the Mean Green Club, along with over 350 student-athletes, our coaches and staff contributed to these accomplishments. Those efforts are helping build on the foundation laid by those who came before us.

So as we embark on our second year together, we must continue to push forward. A few of the priorities we will focus on in the year ahead include:

  • Continuing to raise money for facilities as we progress into the public fundraising phase of our mini campaign
  • Rebranding of the Mean Green Club
  • Focusing on growing the number of members in the Mean Green Club as well as total dollars donated
  • Continuing efforts to grow season ticket base as well as single-game ticket sales
  • Improving communication with our stakeholders
  • Growing our brand in the DFW metroplex, region and nation
  • Becoming national leaders in Building Champions and Preparing Leaders by focusing on personal and professional development of our student-athletes
  • Improving facilities for our student-athletes
  • Developing new and creative ways to improve the fan experience at all North Texas Athletic events
  • Marketing our athletic facilities to attract outside events in order to generate new revenue and exposure.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of our priorities, it does reflect many of the initiatives we will focus on. After 365 days, I’m more confident than ever in our future. That confidence grows when I watch our coaches, staff and student-athletes work harder than ever before to represent this great institution. That confidence grows when I run into fans and supporters who sense the momentum we are creating together. I’m honored and humbled to serve as your Vice President and Director of Athletics. I don’t take the responsibility lightly. Together, we will excel in “Building Champions and Preparing Leaders.”

North Texas, We Love,

Wren Baker Signature
Wren Baker

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