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Longtime Dubois mentor Baker named v-ball Coach of the Year
Dubois High School coach Tina Baker, center, is the Fremont County Volleyball Coach of the Year for the 2012 season. Baker coached the Rams into the Class 1-A state tournament this season. Photo by Bruce Tippets

Longtime Dubois mentor Baker named v-ball Coach of the Year

Nov 25, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

Dubois coach Tina Baker has been named the Fremont County 2012 Volleyball Coach of the year by vote of the sports staff of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News.

Baker guided the Rams to a state tournament berth last month in Casper, completing her 23rd season as the head volleyball coach for DHS.

Dubois, Shoshoni High School and Lander Valley High School all represented Fremont County at the state tournament.

The Rams compete in the Class 1-A classification. SHS is in Class 2-A state bracket, Lander in Class 3-A, and Riverton High School plays in the Class 4-A division.

"It's really a privilege to be the head coach for Dubois," Baker said. "Volleyball has always been my passion."

The veteran coach said this year was one of the top seasons she has ever been involved with.

"In 2001, we played in the semifinals," Baker said. "I have coached a couple of really good teams."

The Rams went 1-2 at the double-elimination 2012 state tournament at the Casper Events Center. The victory was over Burlington in consolation play.

Burlington and DHS have been longtime conference foes. The Rams beat the Burlington Huskies three times this season. One of the wins came at the Class 1-A West regional tourney at Bob Carey Memorial Fieldhouse in Lander.

Hard-working team

The two top players for DHS this season were seniors Katherine Finley and Rachelle Leseberg. The two were voted on to the Class 1-A all-state volleyball team. Leseberg was the conference player of the year.

Finley and Leseberg were also voted on to the Fremont County volleyball team.

"This team was different because it wasn't as talented as the teams that I have coached in the past -- but as for teamwork, it was the best," Baker said.

Baker never gets tired of the state tournament.

"It's really an exciting opportunity," Baker said. "This year was rewarding because the girls worked hard. They played well as a team. They earned that right. It was just kind of a bonus for us to make it that far and play well."

The veteran coach sees herself coaching for a few more years at the Fremont County school.

"I keep trying to slow down, but it doesn't seem to be working," Baker said. "I see myself coaching a little longer. I love what I do. If I have something to contribute, and if I enjoy what I'm doing, then I will keep doing it."

No basketball

In past years, Baker has helped out with the DHS boys and girls basketball programs in the winter.

"I really enjoy coaching basketball," Baker said.

This year, Baker will be in the stands watching her son Sterling Baker wrestle for the Rams and won't be coaching basketball. Sterling is a junior at DHS.

"Right now, my son deserves a little attention before he graduates," Tina said. "Hopefully, I will take a couple of years away from basketball. It will be really different not being with basketball."

Sterling Baker recently helped the Rams win their first ever 6-man state championship title in Laramie.

Coach Baker watched Sterling run over Little Snake River in the 6-man title game at War Memorial Stadium. Tina's husband, Monte Baker, is an assistant football and wrestling coach for the Rams.

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Dubois, Rams