The instability inside the Missouri football program and Tigers athletics will likely continue this fall. The man many were hoping to provide the school some stability, interim athletic director Wren Baker, is leaving to take the same position at North Texas. He will officially begin his new position on Aug. 22.
Former Missouri interim AD Wren Baker officially named AD at North Texas, effective Aug. 22
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 29, 2016
Baker will take over for Rick Villarreal, who led Mean Green athletics for 15 seasons. Villarreal did many things during his time at North Texas, but his legacy will likely be tied to the construction of Apogee Stadium in 2011.
As great of a hire Baker is for North Texas, his departure brings more uncertainty to Missouri, who will have to fill the athletic director position for the second time this month and third time since May.
This past spring, then AD Mack Rhoades hired Baker to be Missouri’s deputy athletic director, but when Rhoades resigned on July 13, Missouri promoted Baker to athletic director on an interim basis. Baker received his promotion despite the fact there were already rumors connecting him to the North Texas position.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the chaos on the Missouri campus. The University of Missouri System still has an interim president and interim chancellor. The former president and chancellor resigned last November amid racial tension and protests on campus.
Long-time football head coach Gary Pinkel also stepped down at the end of last season, but his decision to retire was related to health concerns and not to the racial tension on campus. Fortunately, the football team was smart enough to hire someone on a full-time basis rather than promote an interim head coach. Former defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who has been on Missouri’s football staff since 2003, is the new head coach.