SHAWNEE – Oklahoma Baptist introduces its new basketball coach, Jason Eaker, Tuesday, in a 3 p.m. press conference in the Mabee Suite of the Noble Complex.
Eaker, who spent one season in a Bison uniform before finishing his playing days at Hardin-Simmons University, grew up coming to OBU games. His father, Allen Eaker, is an OBU Athletics Hall of Famer who played on the 1966 OBU national championship basketball team.
"The first thought that comes to my mind is my family and the times we came to Bison basketball games and just how special this place has been to my father and my family," Eaker said. "It is humbling to be back here."
For Athletics Director Robert Davenport, the move to Eaker was natural.
"I am excited to have Jason back on Bison Hill," Davenport said. "His wealth of experience working for Ritchie McKay, Dale Layer and finally the last five years with Bob Hoffman is what I see as a roadmap for success. He has proven his ability to recruit and develop players for both Mercer and Liberty. He is ready to run his own program and I believe he will be a big success. I only made one call when the job opened up as I knew Jason was the guy we wanted here at OBU to lead our men's basketball program."
Eaker comes to OBU from Mercer, where he has been an assistant coach to former OBU coaching icon Bob Hoffman since 2013.
"I'm extremely thrilled for Jason's opportunity to be a head coach at a tremendous university," Hoffman said. "Oklahoma Baptist is a special place to work, to coach, and to go to school. Coach Eaker has been a tremendous asset to our program and he has helped us achieve a high level of success. He will be a terrific representative for what OBU stands for. We wish him and his family all the best."
He has 15 years of coaching experience, including nine years as a NCAA Division I assistant coach. He has been in the postseason six times with three different programs and has recruited or developed 16 players that have earned All-Conference honors.
"I'm always going to remember Dr. David Whitlock (OBU president) and Robert Davenport," Eaker said. "Those two men gave me this chance. You're never a head coach until someone names you a head coach. There's always that strike against you. But Dr. Whitlock and Robert have given me that chance."
Eaker previously worked as an assistant coach at Liberty University from 2007 to 2013 after being director of basketball operations for the Flames from 2005 to 2007.
"This news serves as no surprise to me," said Liberty head coach Ritchie McKay. "Although I only worked with Jason for a couple of seasons, I've known him for a long time. Oklahoma Baptist University has hired a young star in our business! Jason's authenticity, competitiveness, talent, work ethic, and genuine compassion for others will serve the student athletes and the OBU community well! His ability to build strong relationships with his players and around the campus will quickly inspire others to passionately pursue excellence, with the same vigor Jason does!"
Eaker spent a year as Kelvin Sampson's graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma in the 2004-05 season. He started his basketball staff career as Hoffman's video coordinator at Texas Pan-American in 2003-04.
"Jason Eaker is a gym rat," said Sampson. "I think that's a great compliment you can pay any coach. He has an unbelievable passion for developing young men, a great passion for coaching and teaching basketball. He will build a great program at Oklahoma Baptist. I think it is a terrific hire. He loves that university and he loves the state. He's an Oklahoma kid and I'm excited to follow his progress."
After transferring to HSU, Eaker was a two-year starter for the Cowboys, earning two academic All-Conference honors and All-Conference in 2002.
He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Texas Pan American in 2004 and a master's degree in higher education leadership from Mercer in 2015.
Eaker and his wife, Meredith, have one son, Isaac Arrow.