Feb. 20, 2013
BOCA RATON, FL -
The Florida Atlantic University Athletic Department has announced the hiring of Patrick Baker as its head women's soccer coach. He was the former head coach at Florida State University, University of Georgia and University of Pennsylvania, and former associate head coach at the University of California-Berkeley.
Baker brings a winning pedigree to FAU as the only women's soccer coach in NCAA history to take a team to the Division I, II and III postseason tournaments. He was named the 2003 National Coach of the Year by Soccer America, amassed an 80-46-11 record, and had one team advance to the NCAA Division I Final Four. His teams had 18 wins over ranked opponents, including six victories over top 10 teams.
"We are excited to welcome Patrick Baker and his family to Florida Atlantic University," said Pat Chun, FAU director of athletics. "Patrick is passionate about developing the whole student-athlete. He has made an impact at every place he has coached. Patrick's track record as a teacher, coach and recruiter is a great fit for our university."
Baker's NCAA Division I coaching career started at Pennsylvania in the Ivy League for four years, then six years at Florida State of the Atlantic Coast Conference and five years at Georgia of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
"I would like to thank Pat Chun and Senior Associate for Administration Melissa Dawson for this opportunity to lead the Florida Atlantic University women's soccer program," said Baker. "After speaking with Pat during the interview process, I share his vision for the future of our athletic department and what our women's soccer program can become. We have a great opportunity to build a nationally recognized team on and off the field. My family and I know the area well and look forward to being back in Florida."
Five of Baker's six FSU teams qualified for the NCAA tournament, and the Seminoles made three Sweet 16 appearances and advanced to the 2003 Final Four. He is the only coach in Georgia program history to take three straight teams to the NCAA women's soccer tournament. His 2007 Bulldogs' team had the best record in school history (18-4-2) and posted an 8-1-2 mark in SEC play. In 2009, Baker helped guide Georgia to a No. 20 national ranking.
Baker has spent the past two years at California-Berkeley, helping the Bears advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament in both seasons. He was the program's recruiting coordinator and helped attract PAC-12 Freshman of the Year Ifeoma Onumonu.
"Florida has a number of very talented collegiate women's soccer programs, and we feel Florida Atlantic University can become one of those programs with a presence nationally," said Baker. "FAU is located in a prosperous soccer area that has unlimited potential and has developed tremendous talent for many years. Boca Raton and the surrounding areas provide an unbelievable quality of life for our student-athletes. I am really excited about the task of building another successful women's soccer program."
Before coaching at the NCAA Division I level, Baker was head coach at Rollins College (NCAA Division II) in 2010 and North Carolina Wesleyan College (Division III) from 1989-1994.
"We have been fortunate to turn around programs at several colleges. The process is never easy and requires hard work by the staff and the players," said Baker. "The blueprint for success will allow our players to excel in the classroom, on the playing field and within the community. Player development and recruiting will be two our top priorities."
The FAU women's soccer team had a 5-13 record during the 2012 fall season and suffered a 1-0 loss in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. The Owls are preparing to compete against Conference USA opponents for the first time this fall. The league's 2013-14 membership will include University of Charlotte, FIU, Louisiana Tech, Marshall University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice University, Southern Mississippi, University of Texas-San Antonio, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP.
"This is a home run hire for Florida Atlantic University. Patrick Baker is one of the top soccer coaches in the country. He has valuable NCAA Tournament experience as he has taken teams to the college cup and the elite eight. Patrick is a great teacher and recruiter of the game. He cares a great deal of his players both on and off the field. Again, I think this is a great, great hire by FAU."
Head Women's Soccer Coach, Duke University
"We couldn't be more happy for Patrick in assuming the role of head coach at FAU. He will do a tremendous job. Outside of being one of the premier college coaches in women's soccer, he will be an outstanding role model for the players, and first class ambassador for the university. We will of course miss him here at Cal but wish him every success."
Head Women's Soccer Coach, University of California
"Coach Baker will be a great addition for FAU. His ability to recruit and recognize talent is one of his best attributes and helped bring our program at UGA to a new level. I'm grateful for the opportunity he gave me to develop and further my career in college and afterwards professionally. I know he will build an excellent team for FAU."
Former Player University of Georgia