Head coach guides women’s basketball team

This+year+is+women%E2%80%99s+head+coach+Kevin+Baker%E2%80%99s+sixth+season+at+UTEP%2C+and+he+is+the+first+coach+in+the+UTEP+program+to+have+three+winning+seasons+within+their+first+four+years.++

Annabella Mireles

This year is women’s head coach Kevin Baker’s sixth season at UTEP, and he is the first coach in the UTEP program to have three winning seasons within their first four years.

Kristen Scheaffer, Contributor

This year marks the beginning of Kevin Baker’s sixth season at UTEP, though he’s a veteran coach for the sport, and this is year 16 in his college basketball career.  

Although he considers Austin his hometown, Baker says he was a bit of a military brat who’s been everywhere. He attended Stephen F. Austin for his bachelors of science and his master of education. Baker began his career in Lufkin, Texas in 1994 at Hudson High School. 

Later, he would get his first gig as a head coach in 1997 at Commerce High School. From here, his career spanned between high school and college.  

“I really, really enjoyed being a high school coach. There are certain aspects about it. I love teaching in the classroom. I loved mentoring 40 young women. Here, I only get to mentor 15, but I do enjoy just being able to focus on coaching and that’s what you get to do in college,” said Baker. “You just get to focus on recruiting and coaching. When you’re a high school coach, you’ve got to focus on a million things.” 

Baker first got into the sport at 12 years old after playing mostly soccer growing up. He says that basketball felt like the only sport he could play. Once he graduated high school, he decided he wanted to become a coach.  

As the Miners enter the season, Baker is preparing his team for another tough campaign. He says that he has a great team and seems eager to see how far this team will go. He says that many coaches are currently working with the National Collegiate Athletics Association transfer portal, and a lot of coaches have a lot of new faces.  

“So, the challenge is how do you mold those new faces into a chemistry-latent team?” said Baker.  

Baker is the first coach in the UTEP program to have three winning seasons within their first four years at the university. He has also guided the most wins by any Miner coach throughout their first five years at 73.  

Prior to UTEP, Baker coached at Angelo State University, a Division II school, and has also coached at University of Texas at Tyler, a Division III school. Among many things, Baker has succeeded in doing, he is also an eight-time Coach of the Year.   

Baker encourages people to come out and see this year’s team. 

“This is going to be a really fun team to watch. I think a lot of people are really enjoying coming out and seeing the team run down the floor and do what they do,” said Baker. “I think people will get their money’s worth when they buy their ticket at the door.” 

The Miners open the season against the University of New Orleans at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7 at the Don Haskins Center after hosting an exhibition game against Western New Mexico State at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Don Haskins Center. 

Kristen Scheaffer is a contributor and can be reached at [email protected]