Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper recently assisted WesternMass News with their story on incoming NCAA President and former Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker. Cooper, who sits on the NCAA Board of Governors, was a member of the NCAA Search Committee in the hiring of Baker.
“The committee was looking for someone who had a great problem-solving skills, has the ability to know Division I, Division II, and Division III, and has worked in complex organizations,” said Cooper. “As governor, Baker had a very high popularity rate, it showed he was doing something right. His strong leadership skills impressed the entire NCAA Search Committee.”
President Cooper and the men’s volleyball team had the opportunity to visit Baker at the Massachusetts Statehouse in 2017 to celebrate the Pride’s National Championship. In addition, Baker, served the College’s commencement speaker in 2021.
A former collegiate athlete at Harvard, Baker is credited with bringing bipartisan leadership to the state, successfully guiding Massachusetts through an exceptionally turbulent period for government officials. In addition to his two terms as Governor, he brings decades of experience spearheading transformations at high profile institutions in the private and public sectors.
Baker arrives at the NCAA at a moment of significant transformation. Legal shifts in the environment surrounding college sports have challenged the NCAA’s ability to serve as an effective national regulator for college athletics, resulting in an untenable patchwork of individual state laws. Partnering with federal policymakers to develop a consistent, sustainable legal framework to address issues common to student-athletes and athletic departments across the country will be a top and immediate priority. Throughout the search process, Baker’s history of successfully forging bipartisan solutions to complex problems stood out to the search committee as uniquely suited to the NCAA’s present needs.
“I am honored to become the next president of the NCAA, an organization that impacts millions of families and countless communities across this country every day,” said Baker. “The NCAA is confronting complex and significant challenges, but I am excited to get to work as the awesome opportunity college athletics provides to so many students is more than worth the challenge. And for the fans that faithfully fill stadiums, stands and gyms from coast to coast, I am eager to ensure the competitions we all love to follow are there for generations to come. Over the coming months, I will begin working with student-athletes and NCAA members as we modernize college sports to suit today’s world, while preserving its essential value.”