Alma Mater: Catawba '78
Office Phone: (704) 637-4473
Jim Baker took over as the head coach for the Catawba men's basketball program in 1994 and his overall record stands at 337-217. During his tenure, Baker has guided the Indians to the NCAA II Tournament nine times. His teams have won just over 60% of their games and have an impressive home record of 198-74 (73%). Catawba has a 108-70 record in games decided by five points or less under Baker. Baker has produced three conference Players of the Year and two All-Americans, while graduating 60 of 64 seniors.
In 2009-10, Catawba won its sixth SAC Championship under Baker and advanced to the SAC Tournament title game for the third straight year. That year marked the fourth straight trip to the NCAA II Tournament for the Tribe which won league titles in 2007 and 2010, while winning back-to-back SAC Tournament titles in 2008 and 2009.
In 2006-07, Baker was voted SAC Coach of the Year for the fifth time as Catawba won the league title and earned a spot in the NCAA Regional Tournament. In 2004-05, Baker earned SAC Coach of the Year honors as the Indians claimed the conference title and advanced to the NCAA II Tournament. In 2004, Catawba became the lowest seed (#7) to win the league tournament, earning a regional tournament berth. After a 25-5 season and a third South Atlantic Conference title in 2001, Baker was named league Coach of the Year.
Baker was named SAC and NCAA II Region Coach of the Year in 1998, after Catawba posted a 25-6 record. He also earned SAC Coach of the Year honors in 1996, after he guided the Indians to their first conference title since 1983. His 16 victories in his first season was the most ever for a first-year basketball coach at Catawba. He has a 306-166 record over his first 16 seasons and ranks second all-time in coaching victories at Catawba.
Baker came to Catawba from Virginia Military Institute, where he had been an assistant coach for two seasons. He also had NCAA Division I experience as an assistant at Virginia Tech (1989-91) and Davidson (1981-89). Baker came to Catawba in June 1993, as an assistant coach during Sam Moir’s final campaign as head coach. Moir retired in May 1994, ending a great 34-year career at Catawba.
Baker, a dean’s list student at Catawba before graduating in 1978, played for Moir from 1975-78. He transferred from UNC-Charlotte and was a part of two 20-win seasons at Catawba. He was a member of the 1976-77 Carolinas Conference Championship team and three of his former teammates, Benny Callahan, Eric Harris and Herman Miles are in the Catawba Sports Hall of Fame.
Baker began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Moir in 1978-79 and at Wingate the next year, while earning a master’s degree in human development and learning at UNC-Charlotte. He was also an assistant coach at Belmont Abbey (1980-81).
Baker worked under Bobby Hussey at Davidson, Frankie Allen at Virginia Tech and Joe Cantafio at VMI. At Davidson, Baker was part of a program which graduated 25 of 26 student athletes. In addition, the Wildcats put together back-to-back 20-win seasons (1986-87) and appeared in the 1986 NCAA Southeast Regional.
While Baker was at Virginia Tech, the Hokies became only the third team in Metro Conference history to sweep both Memphis State and Louisville in the same year. At VMI, Baker was responsible for recruiting, scouting, practice and bench coaching, public speaking, summer camps and scheduling. All of VMI’s seniors graduated during Baker’s stay there and he was part of an outstanding recruiting class in 1992-93, which saw three freshmen make the starting lineup.
In addition to editing and publishing a monthly basketball newsletter (“Time Out”), Baker has published four booklets: “Power Post Play,” “Striving for Excellence,” and “The Best of Time Out, Books One and Two.” Baker has also released a one of a kind basketball CD-Rom “The Best of Time Out”.
Baker’s ties to the international players in his program come from doing camps and clinics abroad. He has conducted both camps and clinics in Belgium, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Barbados and Costa Rica over the past 18 years. He has also served as the U.S. adviser to the Belgium Women’s Olympic basketball team.
Baker comes from a strong sports family. Both his mother and father were outstanding athletes and his dad, Walt, coached him at North Rowan High School where he graduated in 1974. The field house at North Rowan is named in his dad’s honor. His brother, Chip, is a longtime assistant baseball coach at Florida State.
Baker and his wife, the former Tina Waters, reside in Concord. They have four children, Jamie, Madison, Hannah and Jacob.