PHILADELPHIA - After five seasons as the head coach of the University of Pennsylvania lightweight rowing team, Nick Baker announced on Thursday that he will officially resign from the position at the end of the 2014 season.
"It’s with a heavy heart that I have made the decision to leave my position here at the University of Pennsylvania," Baker said. "Over the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the world here at Penn as well as in the rowing community on Boathouse Row. I believe this decision is best for not only myself but for the betterment of the lightweight rowing program.”
Baker took over the Penn lightweights in the Fall of 2009 and in his first spring season with the Quakers, the Red and Blue enjoyed one of their 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. 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.
Most recently, in 2013, the Quakers claimed the Callow Cup for the first time in 13 years and returned to the IRA's where they finished first in the petite final and seventh overall. In addition, the Penn freshman boat went undefeated against the Ivy League and earned a medal at EARC Sprints for the first time since 1990.
This year, the Quakers will compete in the Eastern Sprints on May 18 with a chance to reach the IRA's in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the current form of IRA championship qualifying began.
A national search for Baker's replacement will begin immediately. Assistant coach Colin Farrell will take over as interim head coach at season's end.