Baker Takes Leave

Brent Baker, centre, is taking a leave of absence from the Varsity Reds men's basketball team. Matt Daley will serve as the team's interim head coach until Baker's return, in the fall. (Photo: U SPORTS)
Brent Baker, centre, is taking a leave of absence from the Varsity Reds men's basketball team. Matt Daley will serve as the team's interim head coach until Baker's return, in the fall. (Photo: U SPORTS)

(FREDERICTON, NB) Brent Baker, head coach of the UNB Varsity Reds men’s basketball team, is taking a leave of absence to deal with on-going health issues.

Baker’s leave has already begun, and he expects to return to his coaching duties in the fall.

Assistant Coach Matt Daley is now serving as the team’s interim head coach. He’ll oversee all day to day duties until Baker’s return.

“Coach Baker needs this time away and we want him to have it,” said John Richard, UNB’s Director of Athletics. “We care about Brent and want him to be well. Taking this time will allow him to focus on his health, and that’s the most important thing for Coach Baker and for us.”

Baker has been dealing with a complex ailment for some time.

In recent years, he’s dealt with the symptoms, but has now chosen to focus on the illness itself.

“This is an opportunity to take a more permanent approach to solving this issue, which will put me in position to do my job more effectively,” Baker said.

Specific details of the illness are not being disclosed, and everyone is being asked to respect Baker’s privacy.

Coach Baker joined the Varsity Reds in 2008.

In his ten seasons in charge, he’s coached over 200 games.

Most recently, in 2017-18, Baker’s team went 16-4 to finish second in the AUS standings before capturing UNB’s first AUS championship since 1967.

Twice, in 2015 and 2018, he was named AUS Coach of the Year.

Last month, Baker was presented with the first Dean’s Award as UNB Coach of the Year.

“He took over a struggling team in 2008 and has developed a program that has earned a first-round playoff bye in three of the past four seasons,” said Richard. “He works hard with his team. We’re looking forward to seeing him back, healthy and ready to return to his job.”

Baker recently signed a new five-year contract to remain head coach of the Varsity Reds through the 2022-2023 season.

“I have complete confidence that I’ll resume my coaching duties at UNB in the fall,” said Baker.