New AD Baker Takes Over at North Texas

2016 UNT Green and Baker

The North Texas athletic department is looking to go in a new direction. On Monday, the Mean Green made it official.

Wren Baker will now take over as athletic director, replacing Rick Villarreal, who stepped down from the position in June after 15 years in Denton.

Baker was with the University of Missouri, where he was deputy director of athletics and, most recently, interim director of athletics following the departure of athletic director Mack Rhoades, who took the AD position at Baylor.

“It’s an honor, a privilege,” said Baker during his introduction at North Texas. “A chance to be at a world-class institution with everything that is needed for athletics to be successful, it’s a tremendous honor.”

Success has been hard to come by lately for the Mean Green, especially in football. They hired former North Carolina assistant head coach on offense Seth Littrell in December after North Texas finished the 2015 season with a 1-11 record. Former head coach Dan McCarney was fired during the season.

The Mean Green have just one winning season in the last 11 years in football. The men’s basketball program has not finished over .500 in four straight seasons, and the women’s basketball program has suffered 10 straight losing campaigns.

So is it a rebuilding process?

“There’s probably some things that we are totally going to break down and rebuild and there’s probably some things that will be picked up where they were left off,” said Baker. “I don’t know if I would categorize it as one thing as a whole as far as rebuilding or tear down.”

Prior to his time at Missouri, Baker was the deputy director of athletics/external affairs at Memphis. He also served as the athletic director at Northwest Missouri State and Rogers State in Claremore, Oklahoma.

* North Texas opens the 2016 football season on September 3 against SMU. Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Apogee Stadium in Denton.

Written by C. James

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