The Arbor | News for April from Jerry Weakley
Normally, and as most of you know by now, I begin each issue of the Arbor with this opening page that runs the gamut from free-form thoughts to a few lighter items for your consideration. This time, I feature a late-breaking story that I couldn’t fit in the other five pages due to the amount of “news-etc.” that we have to relate this month. So without further delay, here’s the exciting news . . . “hot off the press!”
Brett Ballard Named Head Basketball Coach . . .
Brett Ballard, director of basketball operations at the University of Kansas, has been selected as the head men’s basketball coach at Baker University, President and Interim Athletic Director Patricia N. Long announced recently. Long introduced Ballard to the campus, area leaders and members of the media at a news conference, Tuesday, March 23, at the Collins House on the Baldwin City campus.
“I am confident Coach Ballard is an excellent fit for Baker and the NAIA,” Long said. “His values are in line with the NAIA’s Champions of Characters, which emphasizes integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership. He understands our mission as a Methodist university that recruits quality student-athletes who have a strong desire to win while earning a degree. He comes from one of the most highly regarded basketball programs in the nation with a history of winning at the highest level and graduating their players as the recent Inside Higher Ed Academic Performance Report can attest,” Long continued. “We know Brett is committed to the success of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the court.”
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. Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, he 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 before 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.”
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.
Ballard succeeds Rick Weaver, who retired from coaching at the end of the current season after guiding the Wildcats for 25 years.
Welcome to Baker, Coach Ballard! We wish you every success!!!
Find the rest of this month’s stories in the current issue of the Arbor. I hope you will enjoy it!
Jerry Weakley ’70/MBA ’92