Oklahoma Baptist University has a new men's basketball coach.
Jason Eaker was introduced as the new OBU coach at a press conference in April. He returns to Bison Hill after playing one season. Eaker graduated from Altus High School in 1999.
After a freshman season at OBU, Eaker transferred to Hardin-Simmons University. Eaker comes to OBU from Mercer, where he has been an assistant coach to former OBU coach Bob Hoffman since 2013.
After bouncing from university to university, Eaker understands that players need stability in order to fully embrace the college experience.
“Things don't always work out the way you want them to,” Eaker said. “In my mind I was going to come to OBU and play under coach Hoffman for years. I had never dealt with instability or uncertainty up until that point. I hated my experience as a college basketball player the majority of my time as a college player, but looking back it prepared me for real world situations.”
For Eaker, one of the best parts about becoming the new head coach at OBU was getting to tell his father, Allen Eaker, the good news. Allen is an OBU Athletics Hall of Famer who played on the 1966 OBU national championship basketball team.
“My dad and I have always been close,” Eaker said. “What has been really neat about being back at OBU is he'll be able to attend more games than other years. He has a ton of pride in Oklahoma Baptist University.”
Eaker is still in the process of finalizing his coaching staff and roster, but is looking forward to the upcoming season.
“We have kids coming from all different backgrounds and I'm excited for that,” Eaker said. “I look at every situation differently. As long as the kids work hard, do right and all these kids are, I'm not going to take someone's path and eliminate them from our program because they've played at other schools.”
The new coach hasn't put any expectations on his new squad and said the main thing is trying to get his team to gel in a short period of time.
“When you have a new coach and put together a new roster, the meshing and chemistry will be an every day challenge,” Eaker said. “It won't be beautiful to watch in the early portion of the season but as we progress I believe we'll be a very tough team to play later in the season.”
One thing Eaker said he will accomplish during his time at OBU is helping his players become better people off the court.
“We will be good teammates, to play hard and to play with unbelievable energy and passion,” Eaker said. “Another important goal for us is to grow in our relationship with Christ and do everything possible to prepare these athletes for the next phase of their lives.”
Another thing Eaker wants to change about Bison basketball games is getting more fans in the seats, he said.
“Those of us who have been around the game over the years can remember the games being packed and the atmosphere of specific moments form their careers,” Eaker said. “Whether you win or lose, it's the fans that really make the games fun. That is the type of atmosphere we are trying to establish here at OBU.”
Eaker 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.