Ballard introduced as Baker’s new basketball coach
Brett Ballard, director of basketball operations at the University of Kansas, was introduced by President Patricia N. Long as Baker University’s new men’s basketball coach on March 23 at the Collins House on the Baldwin City campus.
“I am confident Coach Brett Ballard is an excellent fit for Baker and the NAIA,” Long said. “His values are in line with the NAIA’s Champions of Character, which emphasizes integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.”
Ballard succeeds Rick Weaver, who retired from coaching at the end of the 2009-2010 season after guiding the Wildcats for 25 years.
“The tradition here is pretty strong and that’s important to me,” Ballard said during his introductory speech before family members, friends and Baker alumni and supporters. “I’ve come from a place with unbelievable tradition with unbelievable coaches and players. I always tried to embrace that tradition and that’s something we’re going to do here, too.”
Ballard, a 2003 graduate of KU, was a backup point guard for the Jayhawks in 2000-2002 after transferring from Hutchinson Community College. He was a member of KU’s Sweet Sixteen team in 2001 and Final Four team in 2002, earning academic all-Big 12 honors his senior year.
“Brett is coming from one of the most highly regarded basketball programs in the nation with a history of winning titles and graduating athletes as the recent Inside Higher Ed academic performance report confirms,” Long said. “We know Brett is committed to the success of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the court.”
In early March, Ballard interviewed for the Wildcat coaching position and visited the Baldwin City campus. He was immediately impressed.
“I was blown away by the people I met,” he said. “Everybody was first class and everybody used the same word and that was family. By the end of the day, I knew that this was the right place for me.”
Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, Ballard has worked seven seasons with the Kansas basketball program. Before being named director of basketball operations, Ballard served as the administrative assistant/video coordinator for four years and was a student assistant prior to that.
“As an integral member of the Jayhawk basketball program for 10 years, Coach Ballard has been preparing every day for this moment to become a head coach and guide a program,” said Theresa Yetmar, associate director of athletics who led the search for the basketball coach. “He is known for his strong work ethic and being involved with every detail of the KU basketball program. Coach Ballard is well connected to high school basketball coaches in the area because of all the major off-season camps he organizes in the summer. We are extremely pleased that Coach Ballard will be a member of our staff and welcome him, his wife Kelly, and sons Kaden and Brooks to our University family.”
At the University of Kansas, Ballard oversaw the academic progress of Jayhawks, worked closely with the off-season strength and conditioning program, assisted with on-campus recruiting, team travel and team video. He also was director of the Bill Self Basketball camp and coordinated and directed the Coaches Clinic, the Winter Clinic and the Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic.
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