Nathan Baker is entering his third season as an assistant coach with the Virginia Commonwealth University volleyball program.
Baker joined Head Coach James Finley’s staff after outstanding stints at the University of West Alabama and Tusculum College.
“Nathan’s brings with him a high level of experience as head coach, as well as a passion for the game and a record of winning,” Finley said. “He will help VCU volleyball take another step forward.”
Baker's impact on the Rams has been immediate and impressive. In his first season in 2009, VCU was 27-9 and captured its first Colonial Athletic Association Regular Season Championship. The 27 victories were the Rams' most since 1985 and the fourth-most in program history. The 2009 season also saw the Rams rise to 65th in RPI and earn a top-40 victory over Pittsburgh in the season's final weekend.
The Rams reached the CAA Tournament in each of Baker's first two seasons, and VCU advanced to the league championship match in 2009.
Baker has been integral in the recruitment and development of a number of outstanding student-athletes during his VCU tenure, including seven All-CAA citations. Among those was 2009 CAA Rookie of the Year and All-CAA First Teamer Michala Kvapilova, who also earned All-East Region Honorable Mention credit. In just two seasons, three of his recruits have earned CAA All-Rookie honors.
It was Baker who discovered current VCU standout Kristin Boyd at an AAU tournament and recommended her to Finley in 2006.
In 2008, Baker served as head coach of Division II West Alabama in Livingston, Ala. and led the Tigers to a 22-11 record and third place finish in the Gulf South Conference. It was just the fifth 20-win season in the history of the UWA program.
Six of Baker’s West Alabama players earned All-GSC recognition, a school record, as well as the Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Year. Additionally, West Alabama posted a team grade-point-average over 3.0 and placed nine players on the Dean’s List.
Prior to his tenure in Livingston, Baker directed Tusculum in Greeneville, TN during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In two years with the Pioneers, Baker racked up 48 victories. His 2006 squad finished 23-10, a 14-win improvement over the previous season. That team also captured nine South Atlantic Conference victories, the program’s most since joining the league in 1998. Tusculum improved on both of those marks in 2007, finishing 25-9 overall and 11-3 in the SAC. He also coached Tusculum's First All-American and South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year.
From 2003-06, Baker worked as an assistant coach
at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C.
Baker began his coaching career at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Rangley, Colo. He also served as a student assistant at Martin Methodist College, where he earned a bachelors degree in Human Service.
Baker is married to the former Jessica McDougal of Pulaski, Tenn. The couple has two daughters, Emma (5) and Morgan (3).