Randy Baker named Minnesota West Head Wrestling Coach

Few can even imagine, let alone replicate, all the accolades that Randy Baker has compiled both as a wrestler and as a wrestling coach.

Now Baker brings all that knowledge and experience to the Minnesota West Bluejay Wrestling room.

On Thursday (5/23) Randy Baker was introduced as the new head coach of the Bluejay wrestling program.

A long-time high school wrestling coach in Southwest Minnesota, Baker helped lead the wrestling programs of the Lakefield Panthers, Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield Silver Bullets, Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield/Jackson Jaguars and the Jackson County Central Huskies to 510 dual meet victories in 34 years as head coach (1984 to 2018)  He has coached 39 individual state champion wrestlers (2nd all-time in Minnesota), 93 state place winners (3rd all-time in Minnesota) and has lead his teams to 7 State team championships and 14 won region/section team championships.

Baker was named the 1993 Class AA Coach of the Year in the state of Minnesota, Wrestling USA Magazine's Wrestling Man of the Year in 1997, USA Development Coach of the Year in 2001 and was named Section Coach of the Year 13 times.

His giving to the sport also allowed him to coach in the MN USA wrestling ranks for 25 years in both Freestyle and Greco Olympic forms of wrestling. He attended coach’s workshops in Lake Placid and Colorado Springs Olympic training centers for MN USA wrestling and is a Bronze certified coach. He started coaching Cadet and Junior elite wrestlers in 1989 and did so until as recently as 2017. During this time he also coached several years of Schoolboy freestyle Duals. He was the Head Cadet Coach for numerous years in MN USA Freestyle. He coached in both Cadet USA Individual and Dual National Tournaments. USA wrestling teams had numerous top finishes during his tenure. MN USA Wrestling also had numerous Cadet National Champions and place winners along with a Cadet National Dual Championship during his tenure. While working with MN USA Junior wrestling in 2017, he helped coach the MN Storm teams to top 3 placing in Greco and the MN Storm team also won the Junior Freestyle national title.

His wrestling and coaching brought this ambassador his due recognition.  He has been inducted to the WCTC Hall of Fame, Augustana Hall of Fame, Jackson County Wrestling Hall of Fame, and National Wrestling Hall of Fame MN Chapter. He was Man of the Year USA Wrestler Magazine, National Developmental Coach of the Year USA Wrestling, MN USA Coach of the Year, and USA Region Coach of the Year.

Baker is a high school graduate (1973) from Jackson High School in Jackson, MN. His colleagues have noted him, as not only one of the best wrestling coaches in the state of Minnesota but in the United States. He is an ambassador to the sport of wrestling that cares about the growth of each individual wrestler as well as the wrestling programs in our country.

He started wrestling in Jackson and was a two time state entrant.  He then went to Minnesota West Community & Technical College to wrestle for NJCAA Hall of Fame coach Stan Hotzler. Baker was a two time Minnesota State and Region place winner and went on to win both his sophomore year. He was a two time NJCAA National Qualifier while placing 5th in the Nation his sophomore year.

Baker transferred to Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD after attending Minnesota West, where he placed 3rd in the North Central Conference and also qualified two times for the Division II National Tournament. Wrestling for Coach Paul Kendle, and as a team captain for the Vikings, the Vikings finished second in the Division II National Tournament. He then stayed on as a graduate assistant for two seasons for Paul Kendle.

Baker accepted the Minnesota West Head Coach position to help strengthen Minnesota College Athletic Conference college wrestling programs so that high school wrestlers can continue to have places to wrestle, succeed, and go on to four year programs as he did in his life. 

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