Duke basketball coach Jon Scheyer has hired Rachel Baker, formerly of Nike and the NBA, as its first-ever general manager.
To the school’s release on Tuesday, Baker’s role will “specialize in helping players enhance their personal and professional skill sets, capitalize on strategic partnerships, including NIL opportunities, and work to support players in navigating the opportunities and student challenges that come with being a -athlete at the highest level.”
Before arriving in Durham, Baker spent eight years at Nike and one season in the NBA. She was heavily involved with Nike’s grassroots partnerships and event strategy — especially with its EYBL circuit — and worked on strategic initiatives involving Kevin Durant, one of Nike’s six signature athletes. During her time with the NBA, Baker was the marketing and brand lead on a season-long task force in helping rebrand the WNBA and offering digital solutions to reimagine the NBA All-Star Game and NBA Combine.
“The state of college basketball is growing and changing at an exponential rate,” Jon Scheyer said in a statement. “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.”
Baker is the latest hire by Scheyer, who succeeded retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski in early April. He hired Jai Lucas from Kentucky as an assistant and Elon’s Mike Schrage as a special assistant to the head coach.
“I could not be more excited to join Jon Scheyer and the entire Duke Basketball family,” Baker said in a statement. “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.”
This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Duke basketball hires former Nike, NBA employee as first-ever GM