May became the first wrestling coach in the history of the University in 2008 and has put Baker on the map among NAIA wrestling institutions.
May's retirement from coaching will allow him to focus on a new role within the University, the Athletics Liaison in the Office of Admissions. His ability to recruit high-character student-athletes and his commitment to academic excellence make him a natural fit for the Office of Admissions. May will remain actively involved with the wrestling program during the transitional year by helping to recruit and mentor the new head coach and working with the 2013-14 wrestling team.
"With as many student-athletes as we have on the Baldwin City campus, communication between the Athletics Department and the Office of Admissions becomes very important," Kevin Kropf, Director of Enrollment Management, said. "We are very excited to have Jimmy May join our team as he is a proven recruiter with an outstanding track record in college athletics."
May has propelled the Wildcats to remarkable heights during the program's young history. He has coached eight NAIA All-Americans, 70 NAIA National Championship qualifiers, two NAIA National Championship finalists and a Kansas Cup Championship.
"I cannot say enough about what Jimmy May has done for Baker University and our wrestling program," Theresa Yetmar, Director of Athletics, said. "He constructed a vision five years ago and has built a rock-solid foundation for the future. Jimmy and I will work hand in hand to assure this is a smooth transition in order to protect and perpetuate the success of our program. His mentorship for our new head coach will only enhance our ability to sustain the level of excellence we have established in this program."
"I am so proud of the level of success, both academically and athletically, that we have achieved. When a program is started from the ground up there will always be challenges to establish the team as a competitive force in the sport. To be nationally recognized in NAIA wrestling so early in the life of Baker wrestling is remarkable, and I credit Jimmy's impressive leadership to making this a reality."
Baker ended the 2012-2013 season ranked No. 15 in the NAIA Wrestling Coaches' Top 20 Poll, and Brandon Gebhardt advanced to his second NAIA National Championship Final in the heavyweight division.
May grew the program to 59 student-athletes in 2012-13 and hosted the NAIA Central Regional Championships in 2013 at the Collins Center, where the Wildcats finished fourth behind three Top 10 NAIA programs.
"I think Jimmy's vast knowledge of the inner workings of our university makes him a natural fit in Admissions. His leadership style combines a great work ethic and passion to help students succeed in life. He sees the broader picture and will be able to collaborate with our coaches to continue to recruit the best and brightest student-athletes," Yetmar said.
"I would like to thank University President Dr. Pat Long and Director of Athletics Theresa Yetmar and the entire Baker family," Coach May said. "The Baker community has been incredibly nice to me in my five years here. I came in as a bit of an outsider and they brought me in as a member of their family. I'd also like to thank former Director of Athletics Dan Harris for hiring me and serving as a great leader as we began this program.
"Thank you also to the Baldwin City wrestling community, they accepted me with open arms and really supported our program and were a big part of our success at Baker. Most importantly I'd like to thank all of the athletes who wrestled for me here at Baker. We had some athletes that were with us for all four years and they are the face of the program and are what Baker is all about. I was also blessed with some very talented assistant coaches specifically Levi Calhoun and George Roath and I can't say enough positive things about them.
"The experiences at Baker have been some of the best of my coaching career and of my life and I am looking forward to my new role in the Office of Admissions and the new challenge."
Yetmar will immediately begin the search for a new head coach who will officially assume duties for the program on July 1.