During my time at Baker University, I have seen many different teams, players, records and even coaches. In three years, the BU athletic department has flourished from one of the middle of the pack teams in the conference, to the top HAAC school in all sports according to the NAIA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Standings.
The difference in the success is almost mind-boggling. Obviously, recruiting, coaching and pure talent are the perfect combination to win, but there has to be more to it than that. Baker University has been an example of the domino effect.
In 2010, the women’s soccer team did the unthinkable and captured the hearts of Wildcats by advancing to the Final Four of the national tournament. The pride and accomplishment that we felt, even just as fans, was amazing. This is where it began.
Quickly after that, head men’s basketball coach Brett Ballard led a team that was near the bottom of the conference back to being a contender. The men’s track team followed as they marched on to win a conference championship.
To begin the 2011-2012 school year, the football team got a startling win over rival Ottawa University, and the dominos started to fall. Four fall conference championships were the best Baker had seen. Most were satisfied, but the hungry weren’t. The wrestling team took a historic trip to the national tournament and so did the men’s basketball team. The men and women’s track teams were unstoppable and both took home gold at the indoor conference meet. Now, we stand at the beginning of the spring season, and the winning needs to continue.
One team set the standard for the entire school, and suddenly winning was not only desired, but expected. Now, Baker sits in the top 20 nationally in all sports.
The following of support has been great as well. When the men’s basketball team traveled to MidAmerica Nazarene University, it was the craziest environment I have ever been a part of. This is what sports are supposed to be about.
For the domino effect to continue, the dedication, and support must continue. BU has crafted a standard of excellence in the HAAC. Let the dominos fall.