Ben Lister hired as Baker University’s women’s basketball coach
Ben Lister will now call Collins Center home after being named the new Baker University head women’s basketball coach.
Baker Athletic Director Theresa Yetmar made the announcement Monday, ending the search for a replacement for Susan Decker, who resigned in April after 11 seasons as coach of the Wildcats.
“I think Ben is committed to continue to build on the foundation set for Baker women’s basketball and really help continue to make us a contender in the league and focus on bringing in high-quality recruits,” Yetmar said.
A seven-person search committee, which included Yetmar, head men’s basketball coach Brett Ballard, a player, Ivan Huntoon and three Baker faculty members, selected Lister as the new coach after narrowing a pool of 101 applicants.
“I thought it was important to have a variety of perspectives, you know, represented on the committee so we made sure we did a thorough job and got the right person for the job,” Yetmar said.
Lister is coming to Baker from Barton County Community College, where he was an assistant coach for the past four years. Lister was also the head coach of Manhattan Christian College from 2005-2007 and graduated from Wichita State University in 2005.
His list of coaching accomplishments includes helping lead Barton County to the 2008 and 2009 Jayhawk West Conference Championship and Region VI National Junior College Athletic Association Championship.
Barton County’s record with Lister on staff was 94-36. Lister also led Manhattan Christian to its third best record in school history, 27-7, and was the Central Region Coach of the Year for the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II.
“Baker is a proud and strong university with an excellent reputation. I am looking forward to being a part of it,” Lister said in a Baker University press release Monday. “My goal is to continue the growth of a strong program, with a solid foundation, into a program that is considered among the elite at the NAIA Division I level. This is a university that excels in developing top-notch student-athletes, which made this a natural fit for myself, as a coach, and for my family.”
Along with his coaching duty, Lister will also work with the Student Academic Success Center as a mentor to student-athletes.
The Wildcats complied a 15-16 overall record and a 10-11 record in the conference last season to finish seventh in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Baker was eliminated in the first round of the HAAC Tournament, losing to the No. 2-seeded Lindenwood University. The Wildcats will lose seven players from this year’s squad due to graduation this spring.
“There’s always a new opportunity when you add a new staff member and to get a fresh set of eyes on your program,” Yetmar said. “And, you know, (Lister) has come in with a lot of positive energy and already connecting with our current players and recruits. So, you know, I’m definitely looking forward to this new chapter.”