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Archive for Monday, March 22, 2010

Brett Ballard officially named new basketball coach at Baker

Former Jayhawk guard and current director of basketball operations Brett Ballard checks the scoreboard during a timeout in this Dec. 20 file photo from Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Jayhawk guard and current director of basketball operations Brett Ballard checks the scoreboard during a timeout in this Dec. 20 file photo from Allen Fieldhouse.

March 22, 2010, 1:51 p.m. Updated March 23, 2010, 12:00 a.m.

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New Baker University basketball coach Brett Ballard believes it’s possible to be a Wildcat and a Jayhawk at the same time.

“I’m ecstatic, excited, fired-up, ready to get going at a great place with some great people and at a place I think we can win some games,” said former Kansas University guard/current Jayhawk director of basketball operations Ballard, who on Monday was named head coach of the BU Wildcats.

“But this also is tough. I’ve been here 10 years now — from playing (2000-02) to being on the staff (eight years). It’s going to be hard to not come to work on Naismith Drive every day. To leave this place is bittersweet, but I’ll still be a part of it,” Ballard added. “No matter where my career path will lead, at the end of the day I’ll always be a Jayhawk.”

Ballard — he’ll be introduced at a campus reception today in Baldwin City — has fulfilled a lifelong dream at the age of 30.

“My dad (Larry) was a coach (at Hutchinson High). I’ve wanted to be a coach a long time,” said Ballard, who played at both Hutch High and Hutchinson CC. “It’s kind of why I walked on at Kansas, knowing I probably wouldn’t get to play much but would get to learn from a great coach (Roy Williams). Obviously, being with coach (Bill) Self the past seven years has been terrific. I’ve learned so much from coach and the coaches here. I’ve always had a desire to be around players, recruit and handle the coaching aspect of the program. This is a great opportunity for that.”

Self said BU has hired the right man for the job.

“He will be a good coach,” Self said. “Brett is an overachieving worker just as he was as a player. He has a great work ethic, is very good with people and he knows the game. Those are the most positive qualities you need to be a head coach. He’ll be missed.”

Baker president Patricia N. Long also spoke glowingly of Ballard on Monday.

“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."

“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. We know Brett is committed to the success of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the court.”

Ballard succeeds Rick Weaver, who recently retired after 25 seasons.

Comments

gatekeeper 4 years, 9 months ago

Awesome! Always loved Brett because he's such a class act. He deserves this and I hope he does very well at Baker.

Steve Jacob 4 years, 9 months ago

What does a "director of basketball operations" do for a basketball team? Just curious.

walkingonwater 4 years, 9 months ago

Danny Manning was Director of Basketball Operations pre Bill Self. They cover travel arrangements and such as that.

Hektor 4 years, 9 months ago

Good for Brett. I remember S.C. mentioning during his senior day speech how important Brett was in instilling a sense of tradition into the current players.

Hope they can find someone to replace him.

CreatureComforts 4 years, 9 months ago

Director of B.O. is also a way a lot of schools fit in an extra coach without breaking the rules. Case in point is that a lot of their "on paper" jobs require zero basketball knowledge (i.e. booking travel as walkingonwater states), yet many of them - Manning, Ballard - are former solid players/coaches in waiting.

hbjayhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Great Job, Brett! You are class act and I wish you all the best. It is only a matter of 6 years or so before you are a D-1 coach . . . Do me a favor and slap Michael Lee in the back of the head for me. He jinxed your 2010 Jayhawks. Do not, and I repeat do not let him around your players when it comes to crunch time.

Nikki May 4 years, 9 months ago

Congrats. He always seemed like a nice guy.

tao7 4 years, 9 months ago

Good luck Brett! Heck of a nice guy!

rse1979 you're a jacknut!!

Armen Kurdian 4 years, 9 months ago

Wonder how many former Jayhawks are head coaches these days?

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