Position: Director of Athletics
Since Theresa Yetmar’s introduction as director of athletics on Jan. 1, 2009, Baker University’s athletics program has experienced an unprecedented combination of athletic, academic, and administrative success in her tenure with the Wildcats.
A Baker University graduate and former Wildcat student-athlete, Yetmar has also served as the university’s associate athletic director and assistant director of athletics from 2003-2009. Prior to this, Yetmar worked at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2002 as the Championships Assistant.
In 2013-14, Baker had arguably its most accomplished season in program history capturing nine HAAC conference team titles including, football, men's soccer, women's cross country, women's basketball, women's indoor track and field, men's indoor track and field, men's outdoor track and field, women's outdoor track and field and women's golf. For the third-consecutive year Baker also finished No. 1 in the HAAC and in the state of Kansas in the prestigous Learfield Sports Directors' Cup NAIA Final Standings at No. 23.
Also for the third-straight year, Baker earned a NAIA National champion, as freshman wrestler Bryce Shoemaker won the 133-pound NAIA Wrestling national championship at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kan., on March 8, 2014. The Baker athletics department also hosted three NAIA National Championship postseason games two of which occurred on the same day, as they hosted the NAIA-FCS First Round football game between the No. 4 Baker and No. 13 Sterling on Nov. 23 and the NAIA Men's Soccer Opening Round game between No. 3 Baker and No. 10 Midland at Liston Stadium. The Baker football team won, 10-7, over Sterling, while the men's soccer team won 2-1 in double overtime over Midland.
Also under her leadership, the Baker Spirit Squad hosted the 2014 HAAC Championships and the Wildcats took home second place overall. The Dance team also captured a first-place finish in the West Regional qualifier to advance to the NAIA Cheer and Dance National Invitational Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., where they finished in third place.
In the 2012-13 season, Baker has had another stellar season in athletics finishing No. 20 in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup NAIA Final Standings. That Top 20 ranking was the highest ranking of any NAIA institution in the state of Kansas and the top ranking in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
In the Fall, the Baker men's cross country team won the 2012 Heart of America Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship and head coach Zach Kindler earned the HAAC Coach of the Year honor. Along with the men's team, Baker also sent three women's cross country runners to the 2012 NAIA Cross Country National Championship race in Vancouver, Wash.
The Baker women's soccer team also advanced to the 2012 NAIA Women's Soccer National Championship final site in Orange Beach, Ala., with an NAIA Opening Round victory over Bellevue to advance to its third straight national tournament.
The Baker football team qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2008 with an 8-2 regular season record and third-place finish in the HAAC standings. They took on No. 6 ranked University of St. Francis and fell to the Cougars in a 22-17 battle in one of the best games of the 2012 NAIA FCS Playoffs.
The success continued for Baker athletics into the winter season, as the Baker wrestling team hosted the 2013 NAIA Central Regional championships and took fourth behind three Top 10 programs. The Wildcats qualified seven wrestlers from that regional to compete in the 2013 NAIA Wrestling National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Baker earned two All-Americans while at nationals, as Parker Owen took sixth in the 174-pound division and for the second straight year, Brandon Gebhardt was a national finalist in the 285-pound weight class and finished as the national runner-up.
In the Spring, the women's golf team captured its first ever HAAC Tournament championship and competed in the 2013 NAIA Women's Golf National Championship Tournament in Lincoln, Neb., at the Wilderness Ridge Golf Club. Baker finished in 26th-place.
The Baker outdoor track and field team had another banner Spring season, winning both the men's and women's HAAC outdoor track and field championships and sent 22 members of its team to the 2013 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Marion, Ind.
The Wildcats collected 13 NAIA All-America honors at the national championship meet held at Indiana Wesleyan University and senior Jeremy Gathright captured a national championship after winning the men's 400 meter dash.
Baker found success across the board in 2011-12 under Yetmar’s leadership, as five teams finished the season ranked in the NAIA Top 25 including football No. 21, men’s cross country No. 24, men’s soccer No. 3, women’s soccer No. 18 and wrestling No. 9.
The Wildcats also earned six Heart of America Athletic Conference regular season championships in 2011-12 including men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s cross country, and indoor and outdoor men’s track and field and women’s track and field.
The Wildcats have recently earned NAIA national appearances in women’s cross country (2010, 2013), wrestling (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), an appearance in the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I men’s basketball national tournament (2011-12), a women’s soccer Fab Four appearance (2010) and Elite Eight appearance (2011), an appearance in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Tournament (2013-14) and a men’s soccer final four appearance in (2011).
Another highlight in 2012 was the first national championship of any kind for a Baker women's student-athlete. Stephanie Nelson won the NAIA National Championship in the Javelin at the NAIA National Championship meet in Marion, Ind. Baker nearly had a second national champion at the championship meet, as Katie Thurbon finished as the national runner-up in the Pole Vault as well.
Under Yetmar’s leadership, Baker’s student-athletes have excelled in the classroom with numerous student-athletes earning NAIA Scholar-Athletes honors: 29 in 2009-10, 31 in 2010-11, 57 in 2011-12, 44 in 2012-13 and 38 in 2013-14. The Baker football team tied for the most NAIA Scholar-Athletes in the NAIA for 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, and the Wildcats’ male student-athlete GPA ranked third in the HAAC for 2009-10. Baker University received recognition as an NAIA Five Star Champions of Character Institution in 2009-10 and 2010-11 for demonstrating the core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
Yetmar has also led efforts to improve the athletic facilities at Baker, including the installation of a state-of-the-art Daktronics HD500 sound system at Liston Stadium, a new indoor throwing/hitting cage for baseball and softball, a brand new press box at the Cavaness Field softball facility, new hammer/discus cage for track, a new Daktonics speaker system inside the Collins Center and upgrades to playing surfaces for baseball, softball, and tennis. She also was the project manager for equipment and room renovations to the Mabee Fitness Center, which is utilized by Baker students, faculty and staff.
Yetmar’s hard work has not gone unnoticed around the country, earning her the NACWAA NAIA/NJCAA/Community College Administrator of the Year award in 2011 and NAIA-ADA Athletics Director of the Year for the Heart of America Athletic Conference in 2010-11.
She has also assisted the NAIA on several committees including the Selection Sunday Committee (2010), and the Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Local Organizing Committee (2009-Present). In 2012-13 she will serve as the NAIA Wrestling National Championship Local Organizing Committee. Yetmar served two years as the Heart of America Athletic Conference Board of Governors’ Chair.
She is also the HAAC Liason for the sports of Wrestling and Men's and Women's Tennis and beginning in June 2013 she will serve a three-year term as a member of the NAIA National Administrative Council (NAC) serving on the rules and ratings subcommittee and as a national liason for women's soccer. The NAC helps shape policy at the highest level of the NAIA with committees governing Rules and Ratings, Championships, Awards and Statistics, and Experience and Enhancement.
Yetmar played four seasons for the Wildcat women’s basketball team from 1998-2002, earning Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2001 and 2002 and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management and earned a Masters of Business Administration from Baker in 2006.