In a new era of college basketball, the Blue Devils have created a new position.
Duke announced the addition of Rachel Baker as general manager by release Tuesday morning, adding to a reconstructed staff in Jon Scheyer's first year as head coach. As the program's very first general manager, Baker—who previously spent eight years with Nike and one with the NBA—will oversee NIL opportunities and work with players to "enhance their personal and professional skill sets," per the release.
"I could not be more excited to join Jon Scheyer and the entire Duke Basketball family," Baker said in Tuesday's release. "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.”
At Nike, Baker played significant roles in managing NBA All-Star Kevin Durant's brand and the Elite Youth Basketball League grassroots circuit. In her time with the NBA, Baker's duties included a task force for WNBA rebranding. Now, Baker brings her marketing background—including a Harvard executive education certificate in business of entertainment, media and sport—to Duke in order to help the program navigate a new landscape in which college athletes are faced with profitable opportunities of their own.
Baker's addition is the latest to a staff full of new faces in Scheyer's first season as head coach. The former La Salle lacrosse player joins Jai Lucas and Mike Schrage as a fresh face in Durham at the tail end of a whirlwind few months since Duke's season ended in April.
"The state of college basketball is growing and changing at an exponential rate," Scheyer said in Tuesday's release. "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."
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Jonathan Levitan is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.