Dr. Baker Takes on New Challenge at the Academy
Joining the Pace community from Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Troy Baker has taken on the role of Pace Director of Athletics along with the job of varsity girls basketball coach. Dr. Baker moved to Atlanta in the beginning of June to begin his journey here at the Academy. “So far I have grown to love it really quickly,” said Dr. Baker. “I feel like I am a part of the community. The people here are very welcoming. I’ve known about the reputation of the school for a while, but it’s something different to be here.”
Prior to working at Pace, Dr. Baker was the Athletic Director at Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis. The program there was similar to Pace in that it was a small K-12 private school as well. “The transition has been great,” said Dr. Baker. “I spent seven years at my previous school, so obviously when you’re somewhere that long it’s always a little bittersweet [to leave], but the transition has been that much easier here because of the people. My family has transitioned well and are just happy all the way around. I don’t think it could have gone better than it has.”
Three of Dr. Baker’s four kids are attending Pace this year: daughters Mckenzie (11th grade) and Dylan (6th grade) and his son Logan (7th grade). “I love it,” he said, of being at the same school as his kids. “I don’t know how much they enjoy it.”
Balancing the responsibilities of the athletic department and the girls basketball program provides a challenge for Dr. Baker. “I think one of the things that will serve us all well is that we have a great team here [in the athletic department],” he said. “I’m surrounded by an awesome team who will be there to really carry the ship and really do a great job of being self starters. Everyone around me forms such a great network and a great team so that we can rely on one another.”
Dr. Baker is most nervous about not learning the school and culture before making alterations. “I think for me, some of the job is just creating a common vision and a common way of doing things,” he said. “To be a little bit more efficient and to improve communication and organization, things of that nature.” Dr. Baker also plans to do more professional development with coaches, similar to what happens with teachers. He intends to spend time perfecting their craft and skills. “One of the things that I love about Pace is that we are very intentional about improvement with our faculty, and I would like to mirror that in athletics if possible,” said Dr. Baker.
Through his past experiences, it’s clear that Dr. Baker has a true passion for the game of basketball. Playing point guard through high school, he then proceeded to play his freshman year at Wittenberg University before deciding to “hang it up and just focus on school and grades and working and things like that.”
Dr. Baker also has years of coaching experience, coaching basketball from grades 5-12. With regard to the upcoming basketball season, “‘Excited’ is the word to sum it up,” he said. “I think that on the girls side of things, I’m just excited about getting the chance to work with the team – to be able to interact with the team and to focus on improvement, to get in to work hard to build those relationships, to represent our school, and to establish a brand of basketball for the girls team at Pace.”