Brett Ballard named Baker men's basketball coach

Brett Ballard spent the past decade in Allen Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Kansas and now will roam the sidelines of Collins Center at Baker University.

Ballard, former KU basketball player and current director of basketball operations for the Jayhawks, has been named the new head men's basketball coach for the Wildcats.

"Brett was a really impressive candidate," Assistant Athletic Director Theresa Yetmar said. "He was very excited about the position here at Baker and bringing his winning ways to our program and very interested in making sure that our kids also were doing well in the classroom and would graduate and would have that opportunity to get a job after Baker."

University President Pat Long announced the hiring to the Baker community in an e-mail Monday morning.

"Brett's values are congruent with the NAIA's Champions of Character initiative, and he understands Baker's goal to recruit quality student-athletes who will excel in the classroom and on the court," Long said in the e-mail. "He has experienced success at the championship level, and I believe Brett will bring that same drive and philosophy to Baker basketball."

A press conference was held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Collins House followed by a reception for the Baker community to meet with the new coach. 

Ballard was one of 137 people who applied to replace coach Rick Weaver. He visited Baker's campus March 8 to meet with members of the Baker community.

"I certainly want to build on the tradition that has been established here over time and I think we can build off that and can continue to improve and hopefully build more toward the future," Ballard said March 8 in an interview during a meet and greet in Collins House. "The other part is, I wouldn't come to a place that I didn't feel like we can win a lot of games and be really successful. I certainly think that's the case here. I think there's a support system here to make that happen, and if given the chance, I'd be really excited about that."

Yetmar and Ballard met with the men's basketball team Sunday night to inform them of the decision.

"We felt like it was very important for them to be the first group within our Baker community and the public to get the official word on our next head coach," Yetmar said. "He enjoyed meeting with them and felt like it went very well."

Ballard played two seasons for the Jayhawks, in 2001 and 2002, after transferring from Hutchison Community College. Since his graduation in 2003, Ballard has worked for KU, first as an administrative assistant/video coordinator for four years and as the director of basketball operations since August 2008.

Ballard officially begins his new position July 1. This will be his first head coaching job.

"He will have an opportunity to meet with all of our players 1-on-1, get to know our staff and we'll work closely with KU to make sure that we're staying within compliance for rules, not only for them but for us," Yetmar said. "Once we work out all of those details, he'll start recruiting for us."

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