Class of 2014
Robert Baker has compiled an impressive career in Illinois wrestling. He began his wrestling experience as a 98-pound wrestler for Plano High School’s Reapers. Performing for three different head coaches, Ken Cummins and IWCOA Hall of Famers Mick Ruettiger and Joe Cliffe, his overall prep career record was 77-11-1.
A 1982 IHSA State Tournament qualifier, Baker was at the top of the podium for an Interstate Eight conference Championship (98lbs) as well as two IHSA District (Regional) Championships at 98lbs and 105lbs respectfully.
Baker wrestled collegiately at NCAA DI Northern Illinois University for IWCOA Hall of famer Don Flavin and was a member of the 1985 MAC Conference Championship team.
Baker impact on Illinois wrestling continued once he started coaching. Starting in 1985-87 he was the Head Coach of the (IKWF) Lil’ Reaper Wrestling Club and began assisting IWCOA Hall of Famer Glen Dallman in 1988 at Byron High School. In 1993 he was nominated for IWCOA Assistant Coach of the Year and the following year was named Head Coach at Byron, a position he held through the 2004 season.
During his tenure at Byron, Baker’s Tigers compiled an outstanding 210-36-2-career record, which included the 1995 Illinois Class A Dual Team State Championship as well as being the 1999 Dual Team State Runner Ups.
Numerous coaching honors have been given to Baker including being twice named the IWCOA Class A Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1999. He was twice tabbed as an Illinois vs. Indiana All Star Classic Coach (1996, 2000).
At Byron, Baker coached 4 State Champions and 3 Runner Ups as well as 18 All State Wrestlers. Baker’s team posted eight 20 plus win seasons and won 7 IHSA Regional Wrestling Championship. Baker led 46 IHSA State Qualifiers into the IHSA State Tournament and Coached Team Illinois 2013 Cadet National Champion Team.
Baker is the coach of the IKWF Xtreme Wrestling Club. His two sons are active wrestlers; Nelson a senior was the 2012 IHSA Class A 113 lb State Champion and 2014 Class A 120 lb State Champion. Freshman Nolan is a USA Wrestling All-American in Greco-Roman and 2014 IHSA Class A 113 lb All-State wrestler.
Baker is a past IWCOA friend of wrestling, Executive Board member, Secretary, Academic All-State Chairman, and member of the Wrestling Advisory Board Advisory.
Baker is an IHSA, IKWF and USA Official as well.