WVU names Wren Baker as athletic director

Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 10:59 AM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia University has named Wren Baker as its next vice president and athletic director, according to a release from WVU.

Baker comes to Morgantown from the University of North Texas, where he has been the vice president and athletics director since 2016.

He brings more than 20 years of experience to WVU with previous stops in Missouri, Memphis, Northwest Missouri and Rogers State.

“I am thrilled to welcome Wren Baker to the West Virginia University family as our new athletic director and I have no doubt his personality and energy will connect with our student-athletes and coaches, as well as our campus community and alumni,” President Gordon Gee said.

Baker will have oversight of 18 varsity sports, a department budget of more than $90 million, approximately 250 employees and nearly 500 student-athletes.

“I am incredibly grateful to President Gee, Rob Alsop, the search committee and Board of Governors for the opportunity to serve as vice president and director of athletics at West Virginia University,” Baker said. “WVU boasts a powerful brand reputation and a storied academic and athletic history. My family and I can’t wait to get to Morgantown to build relationships and help take Mountaineer Athletics to even greater heights.”

At North Texas, seven programs combined to win 17 conference or division championships during Baker’s tenure, and the overall athletic department’s winning percentage in the last year was the best in the modern era.

UNT President Neal Smatresk said it has been a pleasure to work with Baker.

It has been my pleasure to work with Wren for the past six years as our VP for Athletics and AD. During this time, our athletics program has experienced record-setting success in virtually every area, including student academic performance, fundraising, overall conference records and championships. While we are sad to see him go, this is a great move for Wren and his family, and it speaks volumes for his success here at UNT. With solid infrastructure in place and a staff of great administrators and coaches, we are well positioned to continue our success. We will begin our search soon, and I anticipate that we will attract a strong pool of candidates who can continue our remarkable upward trajectory as we transition into The American.

UNT President Neal Smatresk

Baker begins his duties at WVU on Dec. 19 under a six-year agreement through Dec. 31, 2028 and will earn a yearly compensation of $1.1 million, plus incentives.

Baker is WVU’s 13th director of Athletics. He replaces Shane Lyons, who was let go earlier this month.


West Virginia University is expected to announce it has hired a new athletic director, according to multiple reports.

Sports Illustrated and ESPN report WVU has tapped Wren Baker, currently Vice President and Athletic Director at the University of North Texas, to replace Shane Lyons.

UNT athletic programs have won a combined 17 conference or division championships since Baker was hired in 2016. The school’s football team has played in bowl games five of the last six years.

Many believe Lyons’ departure earlier this month from WVU was directly related to the football team’s lack of on-field success.

Under Baker, UNT athletics was invited to join the American Athletic Conference, and will transition to the new league in 2023.

A WVU spokeswoman told 5 News the university had no comment Wednesday morning when asked if the school had hired a new athletic director.

The UNT Athletics Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is a developing story, stick with 5 News for updates as they become available.