ELSAH — Principia College Athletics announced the hire of alumnus Robert Baker as head coach for track and field and assistant coach for cross country.
Baker brings an outstanding individual athletic record and ability to train student-athletes.
After graduating from Principia College in 1978, he competed in the 1980 Texas Relays, where he set the world record in the 1,500-meter portion of the decathlon, a record that still stands. He also competed at the U.S. Track and Field Nationals and the Olympic Trials in 1980 and 1984.
He excelled on the Principia track team, was an All-Conference team member for the College Athletic Conference in 1977 and 1978, and was MVP of the CAC in 1976. He qualified for the NCAA DIII National Championships for the decathlon in 1976, 1977 and 1978; for the mile relay in 1977; and for the javelin in 1978. Baker also qualified for the decathlon at the 1977 and 1978 NCAA DI National Championships, where he earned DI All-American status in 1978.
Baker has trained elite athletes during his career and worked for the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Track and Field from 1984 to 1996. In addition, he coached the U.S. Olympic men’s decathlon team in 1995. Baker holds certification as a strength and conditioning coach and has coached at Principia School in St. Louis.
Coach Chuck Wilcoxen was promoted to director of cross country and track and field in conjunction with Baker’s hire.
“Robert is a fine coach with an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to share with our athletes and coaches,” Wilcoxen said. “This is a great step forward for Principia College track. He has stayed close to our program through the years, and it’s great to have him on board full time.”
Principia College Athletic Director Dr. Lee Ellis concurred.
“Robert will be outstanding as the head coach for track and field — a program he helped develop,” Ellis said. “We couldn’t be happier to have him here.”
Of the impact of his own Principia athletic experience, Baker said, “As valuable as my athletic experience was, I learned lessons about work ethic, discipline and persistence that I try to apply to my everyday life with family and career.”
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