The Joys of Fall

I love the fall season on college campuses.  There is such an energy and buzz.  It is especially noticeable in college athletics.  In the fall, everyone plans on competing for championships.  Each practice is spirited and competitive.  This fall has been a great one at Northwest.  Our soccer team is currently 7-3-2 (5-1-1 MIAA).  Women’s volleyball is 11-7 (5-1 MIAA) and football is 5-1 (4-1 MIAA).  Both of our tennis programs are having terrific fall seasons and women’s golf just completed its best fall season in program history.  Both of our cross country teams have done extremely well and are preparing to host the MIAA cross country meet right here in Maryville on Saturday, Oct. 20.  We would love to have you there! Click here for more info on the event.

Without question, this has been an awesome fall for sports at Northwest.  Fall is also special because of Homecoming.  Last week, we played football at the University of Central Oklahoma.  Since we didn’t have any home games here in Maryville, I was able to leave early Thursday morning and visit some family in Oklahoma.  I grew up in far southeastern Oklahoma.  I love telling the people I meet that I grew up in a town of about 1,000 and I lived 10 miles from town.  While Valliant, OK, is remote and a long way from Maryville, I still love going “home.”  My family has 80 acres and some cattle. I always enjoy taking out the ATVs and riding around.  It brings back great memories of a happy childhood and spending every weekend in the country with my grandparents. 

I’m one of the only people from southeastern Oklahoma that doesn’t hunt.  I never enjoyed it.  I don’t like getting up at 5 a.m.  I hate being cold as well.  However, I love fishing.  Before becoming athletic director at Rogers State University, I owned a bass boat.  I sold it when I realized I wouldn’t have time to use it.  Occasionally, I get out to various farm ponds and lakes with friends. I enjoy the water a great deal.  The farm pond on my grandmother’s place is where I learned to fish.  Sometimes, I sit on the back porch and just stare at the pond remembering all the good times I had growing up.  No matter what is going on in life, going “home” is always relaxing. 

The football team is playing away from Bearcat Stadium during the entire month of October.  It isn’t ideal, but it’s the way the schedule worked out.  Last weekend we won a road game at UCO.  This week we play Pitt State at Arrowhead.  We finish the month with trips to Missouri Southern and Washburn before returning home for Homecoming against Emporia State on Nov. 3 so Homecoming will be especially meaningful to our coaches and players this year.  Homecoming is special to our alums, students and fans as well.  Maryville is one of those places that always feels like home.  I was visiting with one of our alums in Omaha last year.  He is a very successful and driven businessman and a great supporter.  His son told me that he loved going to Bearcat games growing up because his dad was so relaxed as soon as they pulled into town.  He said some of his fondest memories with his dad involved playing football in the tailgate areas before Bearcat games.  He said his dad was almost like another person when he returned to Northwest.  In other words, his dad loved coming “home.”

In a little over three weeks, it will be Homecoming time again in Maryville.  I hope that everyone will be excited and passionate and welcome the Bearcats back home.  Until then, we have some business to take care of.  It starts this Saturday at 4 p.m. in Arrowhead Stadium.  Kansas City will host two of the premier football programs in the country.  Pitt State and Northwest have combined to win 21 of 23 MIAA championships.  This year’s matchup features two top 10 teams.  Your Bearcats are ranked No. 7 and Pitt State is ranked No. 1.  We will need all Bearcats on hand Saturday, wearing green and cheering like crazy.  I am challenging all of our fans to make an impact in Saturday’s game.  We need you!

We also have some big volleyball games this week.  Our team play at Central Missouri Wednesday and then hosts MIAA games on Friday against UCO at 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. Sunday against PSU.  The soccer team has a big game on the road at Fort Hays on Saturday morning.  I encourage you to get out and support your Bearcats.  We want to finish the fall sports season just as strongly as we started.  Finally, I also hope you will consider coming out Oct. 20 to the MIAA cross country meet.  Let’s give our cross country runners something they don’t get to experience often, home track advantage!

Until next time, best wishes and Go Bearcats!

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Wren Baker

About Wren Baker

Wren Baker was named Director of Athletics at Northwest Missouri State University in December 2010. Baker provides leadership to fifteen Northwest athletic programs. Prior to coming to Northwest, Baker was the first Athletic Director in Rogers State University history and led the development of one of Oklahoma's most successful collegiate athletic programs. Before entering administration Baker served as an assistant in the Oklahoma State University men’s basketball program 2001 to 2005. Baker received his bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2001 before earning his masters degree in education leadership from Oklahoma State University in 2003.

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