Tusculum College volleyball coach Nathan Baker will be stepping down as head coach at the Greeneville, Tenn. school announced Director of Athletics Frankie DeBusk.
Baker has accepted the head coaching position at the University of West Alabama, located in Livingston, Ala. Baker replaces former UWA head coach Ron Arenz, who accepted a similar position at the University of Akron.
In his two seasons in Greeneville, he led the Pioneers to a 48-20 record, including a 20-8 worksheet in the South Atlantic Conference.
In 2006, he led TC a 23-10 showing, a 14-win improvement from the previous season. Tusculum also posted a 9-5 SAC record to finish fourth in the league. Baker followed that effort with a 25-9 mark this past season, while establishing a new TC mark for SAC wins in a season (11). Tusculum went 11-3 in league play, while finishing second in the conference, its best-ever finish since joining the conference in 1998.
“We are saddened that Coach Baker has decided to leave us, but we wish to thank him for the phenomenal job he has done with our volleyball program,” said DeBusk. “Nathan has been instrumental in re-starting the winning tradition for Tusculum volleyball and wish him and his family all the best for the future.”
Baker mentored 2007 SAC Player of the Year Vivian Lacy, who became the first Tusculum volleyball player to garner NCAA Division II All-America distinction. His teams have consistently done well in the classroom, including Alexis Rowles, who was tabbed the 2007 SAC Scholar Athlete for volleyball. Last season, Tusculum ranked second in the nation in blocks per game and ninth in team hitting percentage.
The Phil Campbell, Ala. native also orchestrated the “Dig For the Cure” matches, which raised proceeds and awareness for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
“I want to thank (former Tusculum AD) Ed Hoffmeyer and Frankie DeBusk for giving me this opportunity to become a head coach at such a fine institution as Tusculum,” said Baker. “I feel it’s time to pursue another opportunity. I will always remember my time at Tusculum College, thanks to the many people that made it a wonderful place to work. It was very difficult to leave this group of players. They have accomplished amazing things in just two short years and they should all be proud of what they have accomplished.”
Baker came to the Greeneville, Tenn. campus after serving three years as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I Campbell University. During his tenure at the Buies Creek, N.C. school, he coordinated all recruiting and travel activities while also serving as academic coordinator. The Fighting Camels had a 12-win turnaround in 2004 and posted 14 victories in 2005 for the Atlantic Sun Conference affiliated school
Prior to his three seasons at Campbell, he served as the head volleyball and softball coach at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangley, Colo. At CNCC, Baker started the volleyball program for the Spartans in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, known as one of the toughest junior college leagues in the country. He laid the foundation for what has prospered into a solid program, both athletically and academically. His 2002 squad posted a 3.2 cumulative grade point average.
The 2002 Martin Methodist graduate got his coaching career started at his alma mater where he served as an assistant coach for former Olympic and professional player Rose Magers-Powell. Coach Powell was member of the 1984 US Olympic Volleyball team that won the silver medal at the Los Angeles games, the highest finish by an American team.
Baker is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). While at Campbell he served as the Atlantic Sun Conference representative for the AVCA Assistant Coaches Committee. Baker represented the A-Sun with the NCAA Recruiting Task Force and other NCAA legislation that impacts the sport of volleyball. He is also active with community service efforts with the American Cancer Society and is advocate for youth volleyball.
Baker and his wife, the former Jessica McDougal of Pulaski, Tenn. have two daughters; Emma and Morgan.