RICHMOND, Va. – Eight years ago, Laura Baker left Kent, England to begin her collegiate field hockey playing career at VCU. Today, VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin handed Baker the reins to the program as its new head coach.
Baker becomes the eighth coach in the program's 33-year history after serving as the Associate Head Coach for the 2012 season, in which the Rams posted the second-most wins in school history with 13.
"Laura's passion for VCU as an alumna and her knowledge of the game were big factors in this decision," McLaughlin said. "We felt strongly that we needed continuity for this program so we could continue to build a championship product. Laura is a tireless recruiter and a talented teacher of the game."
Baker, who also spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an assistant coach with the Rams, has helped guide the Black & Gold to a 34-22 mark over those three seasons including two trips to the conference tournament.
"I couldn't be more excited to be given the opportunity to lead the VCU Field Hockey program. Having played at VCU, I have a lot of passion for this school and know there is a tremendous opportunity to build on the recent successes of the program," Baker said. "I'd like to thank Ed McLaughlin, Jon Palumbo and the hiring committee for giving me this fantastic opportunity to move this program forward."
In addition to her time with the Rams, Baker also spent the 2011 season as an assistant at La Salle University, where she helped guide the Explorers to the Atlantic 10 conference tournament. As the goalkeeper coach for La Salle, she oversaw the success of Lisa Shafer, who ranked among the nation's best in goals-against-average and was named First-Team All-Region by the NFHCA.
As a player, Baker was a four-year starter for the Black & Gold from 2005-2008. She ranks in the top-10 in program history in every goalie statistical category.
The Rams return six starters from last year's squad that went 13-6 and posted the third biggest one-year turnaround in the nation.