Aug. 2, 2007
The Patriot League recently conducted a brief question and answer session with Colgate Volleyball Head Coach Ryan Baker. In his first season at the helm of the Raider program, Baker led Colgate to a 14-15 overall record in 2006, for the most wins and best winning percentage since 1999.
PL: How did you get into coaching volleyball?
RB: I've always had a passion for the game of volleyball. I started playing when I was in 8th grade for my local high school and continued through college. After graduating with my degree in Broadcast Journalism and working in television for two weeks, I decided to follow my heart and go into coaching. I was given a graduate assistant position at Ithaca College with the women's volleyball team while I worked on a master's in sport psychology. I certainly made the right decision going into coaching. I always say that "I'm living the dream!"
PL: Having finished up your first year as a head coach in the Patriot League comment on the competitiveness of the League.
RB: One of the most exciting aspects about coaching in the Patriot League is the level playing field. You better be mentally and physically prepared on every night because there is no such thing as an "easy win." If you look at the box scores, you can see that every game is decided by only a few points. Patriot League play brings out the best in every team.
PL: What is a typical practice like for the Colgate volleyball program?
RB: We spend a great deal of our practice working on serving and passing. The team who is able to convert on both their serving and serve receive offense usually wins the match. We also spend a great deal of our practice scrimmaging. While it is important to master the individual skills, I believe it is even more important to learn how to play as a team. You have to feel comfortable with the players around you, everything needs to flow smoothly.
PL: Share your thoughts on beginning your coaching career in the Patriot League - a conference that prides itself on the scholar-athlete model.
RB: It is an honor to work in the Patriot League. As a league, we don't take the phrase "student-athlete" lightly. When you are an athlete at a Patriot League institution, you are going to be challenged in the classroom as well as on the playing field. I believe that Patriot League graduates are so successful in the working world because they are surrounded by the best and the brightest. People rise whey they are challenged. After working at Colgate, I can promise you, there isn't a day that goes by that you are not being pushed to be the best in both the academic and athletic arena.
PL: Any special plans for the summer?
RB: I had a very productive and active summer vacation. I was able to work two of the best volleyball camps in the country. I spent one week working under Russ Rose at Penn State and then I headed west and worked under Marv Dunphy at Pepperdine. They were both such great learning experiences. In my spare time, I played a little golf and was involved in a musical. I had to get out of the gym for a short bit!