Head Coach Nick Baker is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Penn men's lightweight rowing program in 2012-13.
In his first season with the Quakers, Penn enjoyed one of its most successful seasons in recent years. The varsity won its first race under his guidance and continued to improve from there. The Red and Blue nearly captured the Matthews-Leonard Cup for the first time in 20 years - losing on a photo finish - and then lost in a similarly close race when they almost claimed the Dodge Cup for the first time in 19 years. The team's progress also shined through on a national level as the Quakers finished sixth at Eastern Sprints to reach the IRA Regatta for the first time in three years. At the national championships, the Quakers posted the program's best finish since 2005, placing seventh.
Baker came to Penn with seven years of coaching experience, serving most recently as the head coach of the men’s lightweight team at Navy last season. The Midshipmen’s Varsity 8 were ranked in the top-four all season and earned the silver medal at the prestigious Head of Charles regatta, while the lightweight 4+ took the bronze medal at the same event. Also while serving at the helm in Annapolis, Baker’s junior varsity and third varsity boats finished the season with only one regular season loss apiece with the junior varsity winning the silver medal at EARC Sprints.
Prior to taking over the head coaching duties, Baker served as the lightweight assistant at Navy for three seasons. During that time, he coached the freshman boats to six medals (two gold, two silver and two bronze) in six attempts at EARC Sprints as well as accumulating IRA gold (2007) and silver (2008) medals. Under his direction, the first and second freshman boats went a combined 21-5 in the regular season, including one undefeated season for each boat. Navy's freshmen claimed two of three titles at Belly of the Carnegie under Baker. In addition to his coaching duties at Navy, Baker spent two years serving as an Assistant Compliance Director.
Before leaving for the United States Naval Academy, Baker spent one season as the heavyweight assistant coach at Yale where he led the third varsity boat to an undefeated cup season and the EARC Sprints title.
Also on Baker’s coaching resume are stints the West Side Rowing Club in Buffalo, N.Y., and the Vesper Boat Club in Philadelphia.
In addition to his strong coaching credentials, Baker earned numerous accolades as an athlete. At the University at Buffalo, he served as team captain and president of the rowing team. He also served as the captain of the West Side Rowing Club, winning a pair of club national titles and four Canadian Henley championships. Baker was awarded West Side's Broderick Plate, the highest individual award presented by the club to a male athlete for character, leadership and sportsmanship.
Baker, a 2001 graduate of the University at Buffalo, succeeds former head coach Mike Irwin who left the position last month after spending the seven seasons with the Quakers.