Tommy Baker enters his third season at the helm of Saint Leo women's golf, and has the Lions poised for unprecedented levels of success in 2015-16.
Under Baker's tutelage, the Lions finished fifth at the NCAA South Region Tournament, improving upon the previous season's finish. Senior Clare Connolly was tied for seventh on the individual leaderboard at the NCAA regional event, carding a three-round total of 221, and becoming Saint Leo's first four-time NCAA regional participant.
Connolly ended the year as a Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-South Region selection - the second in as many years coached by Baker - and the program's first Capital One Academic All-American in sophomore Marie Coors. Coors also received WGCA All-American Scholar recognition, after finishing among the top 15 at the NCAA South Region event.
The Lions finished among the top 10 in all their events during Baker's second season at Saint Leo, including a tournament championship at the Lander University Lady Bearcat Invitational, and a second-place finish at the Mimosa Hills Intercollegiate in Morganton, N.C.
In his first season with the Green and Gold, Baker led the Lions to instant success.
The program saw two regular-season tournament first place team finishes, finishing all eleven tournaments in the top 10. This success also carried over to crucial end of the year tournaments where the Lions finished fifth at the Sunshine State Conference Tournament, earning a selection to the NCAA South Region Tournament, where they finished sixth. At the SSC Championship, golfer Marie Coors finished in first place for the Lions, marking the first time a Saint Leo women’s golfer has won the tournament. The guidance of Baker assisted in the placement of Marie Coors at the NCAA DII National Championship where she finished tied for eighth.
In total, the Lions earned sixteen top-10 individual tournament finishes, and numerous accolades were awarded throughout the season, including one WGCA All-South Region selection, one WGCA Second Team All-American, one Second Team All-SSC second team honoree, and one SSC Women’s Golfer of the Week award winner.
Baker was named the head coach for the Saint Leo women’s golf program in August of 2013. Baker, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, made his way to Saint Leo after serving as the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Coker College in Hartsville, S.C. He is the fourth head coach in program history, since its inception in 2002.
Under Baker’s tutelage at Coker, the women’s golf program was transformed into a regional competitor. During the 2012-13 season alone, the Cobras had three top-5 finishes and they completed eight of nine events in the top-15. In addition to the women’s success, Baker guided his men’s program to 12 total tournament victories. The men’s team also captured the 2012 Conference Carolinas Championship.
In his five years with the Cobras, Baker helped to produce over 70 Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll Recipients, 32 All-Tournament Team Selections, 17 All-Conference Team Selections, 11 team tournament victories, and 10 individual medalist honors. In addition, he led six Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-Region Selections, two GCAA All-Freshman Team selections, one Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, one Conference Carolinas Freshman of the Year, and one PING First Team All-America selection.
Along with numerous awards, Baker’s teams spent 29 consecutive weeks ranked in the Golf World / Nike Coaches’ Poll in 2012-13. He also led the Cobras to six NCAA Regional Appearances and one NCAA National Championship appearance. In 2012, his women’s golf team also won the Conference Carolinas Team Sportsmanship Award. Adding to his resume, Baker was named the Conference Carolinas Coach of the year in 2009.
Prior to his success with the Cobras, Baker was an assistant men’s and women’s golf coach at his alma mater, UNC Pembroke, for two years.
As a member of the UNC Pembroke golf team from 2002-06, Baker was a four-time letterman as well as a four-time Peach Belt Conference Honor Roll Selection. He received a B.S. with honors in Exercise in Sport Science, as well as his Masters in Sports Administration.