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The new era of Duke basketball continues with the formation of a new front office position to help players enhance their marketing skills in the new college sports world created by NIL (name, image and likeness).
First-year Blue Devils coach Jon Scheyer announced on Tuesday that Rachel Baker is the program's first general manager – a position she will use to assist players in capitalising on strategic partnerships.
"The state of college basketball is growing and changing at an exponential rate," Scheyer said. "Rachel is a one-of-a-kind talent with unique experience that will provide our players and their families with an unparalleled resource and partner as we navigate new frontiers of college basketball together.
"Through her work in the NBA and at Nike, she brings nearly a decade of expertise in the business of basketball to our staff, as well as her gifts in relationship and community building, leadership development, and experiential marketing. We can't wait to see all she brings to our program in this newly created position."
A former lacrosse player at La Salle and the daughter of a collegiate basketball coach, Baker spent eight years at Nike and one year in the NBA league office before joining Duke. At Nike, she led their Elite Youth Basketball League, developing partnerships and managing strategic initiatives. During her year with the NBA, Baker directed the marketing and rebranding of the WNBA.
"I could not be more excited to join Jon Scheyer and the entire Duke Basketball family," said Baker. "We're in the middle of such a transformative moment – not only for Duke, but for the college basketball landscape – and the chance to be part of it is the opportunity of a lifetime.
"Duke Basketball has remained rooted in honoring our storied history while writing the future of the game. I am humbled and honored to join this tradition and can't wait to get started."
Baker is the latest major change for the Drake program following the retirement of coach Mike Krzyzewski after he had led the team to five NCAA Tournament championships since his hiring in 1980.
Scheyer, the 34-year-old former Blue Devils star, had been on Coach K’s staff since 2014 and took over for the Hall of Fame coach following his planned retirement in April.
Baker, who graduated from La Salle in 2012 and holds an executive education certificate in business of entertainment, media and sport from Harvard University, is the daughter of Rod Baker, who coached Tufts from 1983-88 and Cal-Irvine from 1991-97.