Ryan Pitts named track and field coach

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

The third head coach vacancy in the Baker Athletic Department has been filled. Director of Athletics Theresa Yetmar named Ryan Pitts the new head track and field coach. Pitts will serve as the head coach and will work with Tim Byers, who will be the director of cross country and track and field. Byers will also be the head cross country coach this fall for his second season.

“I am beyond ecstatic to take over the highly successful track & field program at my alma mater,” Pitts said in a Baker University press release. “It is my goal to continue the winning lineage of conference championships that have been established prior to my arrival as a coach.”

In 2014-15 Pitts served as the wide receivers coach for the No. 16 Baker football team. In the winter and spring Pitts worked with the track and field teams as an assistant coach with jumps, sprints, and hurdles. The Wildcats won the Heart of America Athletic Conference in both men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field. Pitts helped send eight athletes to indoor nationals and 15 to outdoor nationals.

“Coach Pitts was a big help to all of our jumpers last season,” junior Tyson Robke said. “His experience competing at Baker helped bring pride in our tradition on the track and to continue to build on that.”

In 2015 Robke finished 11th at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in the men’s heptathlon. He was also named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week after finishing in second place at the Kansas State University Multi Event Meet against athletes from Kansas State, Oklahoma State and UMKC.

“It will be exciting to see our young staff and our team’s growth next season,” Robke said.

This will be Pitts’ second job as a head coach in track and field. From 2010 to 2012 Pitts was the girls head coach for track and field at Warren High School in Downey, California. Prior to this Pitts was an assistant track and field coach from 2007 to 2010 for North Torrance High School in Torrance, California.

Pitts was a two-sport athlete at Baker before getting into coaching. Pitts was the leading receiver for Baker in 2004 and 2005. Pitts caught 95 passes for 1,333 yards and 17 touchdowns over that two-year span and was named an NAIA All-American in 2005. In track Pitts qualified for nationals in both indoor and outdoor track in the high hurdles in 2006.

The Baker track and field program is enjoying an all-time high. The men have won five consecutive outdoor titles and four consecutive indoor titles. The women have also been dominant in this time frame with four straight titles in both indoor and outdoor track and field.