Charles Baker named assistant men's basketball coach

BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Charles Baker has been named assistant men's basketball coach at Campbell University, head coach Robbie Laing announced on Thursday. Baker, who brings two decades of coaching experience to the job, has worked the last two years at the University of Colorado.

Baker's Big-12 Conference experience also includes six years at Kansas State (2000-06), where he served on the same staff as Coach Laing before he was hired by Campbell in April 2003.

"I'm really pleased to have Charles on our staff here at Campbell," said Laing, who is entering his seventh year in charge of the Fighting Camels. "Not only does Charles bring a wealth of experience at the highest level of college basketball to our team, he is a close friend who knows how I want to run our program. Having Charles join our staff with Brian Burg and Michael Slonaker gives me a great comfort level. I'm more at ease with our entire staff and its capabilities than at any other time during my tenure at Campbell."

During his two years at Colorado, Baker helped develop a unit that posted its best free throw percentage (in 2008-09) ever since the Big-12 was formed and one that averaged the fewest turnovers per game (2007-08) during the same span.

"Charles has a great gift in bench coaching," said Laing. "His natural instincts in game situations and substitutions are a great addition to our staff in addition to his excellent talent for recruiting top talent from around the country."

Baker, 43, joined the Colorado staff after spending the 2006-07 season at Louisiana Tech where he was also an assistant from 1998-2000. While at Louisiana Tech, Baker helped guide the Bulldogs to the 1999 Sun Belt title.

He spent six seasons from 2000-2006 with the Kansas State University program under former head coach Jim Wooldridge, three campaigns while sharing the bench with Laing.

"I am thrilled to be part of a program that is on its way up and clearly has a chance to compete year-in and year-out at the highest level in our conference," said Baker, a native of North Little Rock, Ark. "The opportunity to work with Coach Laing, who is a man I know and trust, a good person, and who wants to win, is a chance I could not pass up. I'm excited to get started."

During his tenure at K-State, Baker helped assemble three Top-25 recruiting classes during his last five seasons, including the nation's best class in 2002-03 according to Hoop Scoop magazine. Baker has helped recruit three consensus Top-100 players to Kansas State his last three years, including former Parade All-American Cartier Martin (second team All-Big 12 in back-to-back seasons and the Big 12's inaugural Sixth Man of the Year in 2006-07).

He also played a major role in recruiting Jeremiah Massey, who was an All-Big 12 second team selection by both the coaches and media in 2004-05, after earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honor from The Associated Press and Dallas Morning News as a junior.

Baker was originally hired at Louisiana Tech by Jim Wooldridge in 1998 before Wooldridge left to coach the Chicago Bulls. He stayed on to serve under coach Keith Richard for the next two years, helping tutor the Bulldog post players and leading the program's recruiting efforts.

During his two-season stint, Baker helped guide the Bulldogs to their first Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship since 1991-92. Overall, Baker helped Louisiana Tech post a 40-17 (.702) record from 1998-2000, including a 23-9 mark in Sun Belt Conference play.

Before Baker's tenure at Louisiana Tech, he coached at Shorter (Ark.) Junior College for five seasons - turning a 1-29 team into a consistent winner. At Shorter, he led his teams to four consecutive Arkansas State Junior College championships, four straight 20-win seasons and a 121-31 (.796) record.

Baker started his coaching career in 1990 as an assistant coach at Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro, Tenn. During his short time at MTSU, he helped guide the Blue Raiders to a 21-9 overall record.

Born May 27, 1966 in North Little Rock, Ark., Baker is a 1990 graduate of Eastern Kentucky, where he lettered for the Colonels and earned a bachelor's in physical education. He was also named Arkansas junior college player of the year in 1986 at Westark Junior College. He has a son, Rojae (23).

Baker joins a Campbell program that is coming off a 2008-09 campaign in which the Camels were the most-improved team in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Despite competing with the 10th least-experienced roster among 343 NCAA Division I programs, Campbell enjoyed its most successful men's basketball season in more than a dozen years in 2008-09.

The Fighting Camels (14-16, 11-9) tied a school record for most Atlantic Sun Conference regular season victories, matching the 11 wins collected by the 1996 club, and recorded the program's first winning record in league play since the 2000 squad finished 10-8.

Campbell returns 10 players from its 2008-09 roster, including three-time all-conference performer Jonathan Rodriguez and league freshman of the year Lorne Merthie. CU opens its regular season at home on Fri., Nov. 13 against St. Andrews before hosting East Carolina Nov. 17.