Billy Baker

November 17, 1969 - Present

Born in Hickory, North Carolina, Baker attended West Lincoln High School where he was a four-sport athlete in football, wrestling, baseball, and track. In football, Baker was an All-Gaston Gazette Area and All-Conference running back. As a wrestler, Baker was a two-time state medalist (1st, 3rd) in 1987 and 1988. Winning a state title at 135 lbs. in 1987, Baker became the first Lincoln County athlete to win a state championship in any sport. After graduating high school in 1988, he joined the Appalachian State University wrestling team as a walk-on, eventually earning a scholarship. Baker started three years for the Mountaineers (1991-1993), winning 70 college matches and placing in over a dozen college tournaments. Baker finished in the top three at the Southern Conference Tournament (1991-1993), reaching the finals in 1991.

After graduating from Appalachian in 1993 with a degree in Business Education, Baker began his coaching career as an assistant at Morehead High School (1994) before heading to Lincolnton High School where he founded the school’s wrestling program. In 1997, Baker led the Lincolnton squad to a top-20 finish at the state tournament. In 1999, he became head coach at Saint Stephens where, for 24 years (23 seasons), he coached one of the state’s most successful wrestling programs. In 2004, Baker was called back into the Army during the Iraq War and promoted to the rank of Captain while serving in the 1st Infantry Division. Baker’s teams have amassed a dual record of 715-187, won fifteen conference championships, five regional tournaments, advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs eight times, and reached the dual team finals four times. In 2019, Saint Stephens won the state dual team championship and Baker received the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS) Coach-of-the-Year, NFHS Regional Coach-of-the-Year, National Wrestling Coaches Association NC Coach-of-the Year, and the NCHSAA Region 7 Charlie Adams Distinguished Service Award. Baker was the NC Mat News Coach-of-the-Year in 2001, 2006, and 2019, and was inducted into both the Lincoln County Hall of Fame (2015) and the Catawba County Hall of Fame (2020). 

Baker has also served on the NC Wrestling Coaches Association Board of Directors since 2007, serving as Vice President (2017-2018) and Board President (2019-2021). As Board President, Baker was instrumental in working with the NCHSAA to navigate the COVID 19 Pandemic and preserve the wrestling season in 2021. In addition to teaching business and coaching wrestling, Baker has also served as the Athletic Director at Saint Stephens since 2016. 


Lifetime Service to Wrestling
North Carolina

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