Baker (Dunleavy) Back in the Kitchen


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Baker Dunleavy spent six seasons at Quinnipiac before returning to Villanova.

Brooke Ackerman, Co-Sports-Editor

Villanova alumnus Baker Dunleavy stepped down from his former Quinnipiac men’s basketball head coach position on Thursday, April 13th, and will now return to Villanova for a brand new role in Wildcat athletics: general manager of all of Villanova basketball.

“My intent was not to leave, and sometimes in life I think opportunities come up,” Dunleavy said. “For me, it was a decision of what was best for me and my family and what was my future in coaching in terms of my passion to coach going forward versus this new opportunity.”

Dunleavy played at Villanova from 2003-2006, and served as an assistant under Jay Wright from 2010-2017.

After leaving Villanova in 2017, he took the head coaching job at Quinnipiac for six years. This past season, he led Quinnipiac to a 20-12 record, its best season since 2013-2014.

But now, Dunleavy rejoins the Villanova community in a new role.

“I think there’s a job at hand that’s really important and one that I’m really excited to get to work on,” Dunleavy said. “I just couldn’t be more excited knowing what the place, the program, and the people are all about.”

In his new role, Dunleavy will assist with Name, Image and Likeness, the transfer portal, student-athlete brand-building and marketing and will advance institutional fundraising in partnerships with University Advancement.

“I think really the main goal is… in an ever changing environment, to navigate [everything] as a Villanova community, and keep true some of those things that have been pillars at Villanova since the 1950s and 60s, both on and off the court,” he said. “The environment, the feeling, why people are here — those things need to stay the same, and to keep those things the same I think we need to be creative in how we approach some of these new opportunities.”

More than 20% of Division I men’s scholarship players have entered the transfer portal, with six collegiate conferences seeing more than 30% of their players in the portal, making player mobility higher than it has ever been.

With changes such as these, Dunleavy’s new role is critical.

“The changes are obvious, and they’re there,” Dunleavy said. Villanova is gonna be a place where guys can take advantage of [the deals they’re being offered]. But we have to do a good job of continuing to evaluate guys that really fit us as a university and as a basketball program.”

For Villanova, Dunleavy’s background and familiarity with Villanova is key.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be back at Villanova,” he said. “My wife is also an alum, 2005, and my four girls [are with us], we’re just so thrilled to be back in what is such a special community to us.”

Dunleavy is son of former NBA player and coach Mike Dunleavy Sr. His brother Mike Jr  is also a former NBA player, and his brother James Dunleavy is a current NBA player agent.

With his rich history in background, as well as his previous coaching position, Dunleavy will step into this new role with one key attribute: perspective.

“I think when you take a coach’s perspective into parts of a non-basketball role at times, it can help in some of the conversations,” Dunleavy said. “Everybody has got their own experiences and backgrounds and ideas, and I think at a place like Villanova, those come together and create a synergy because people respect each other and value the culture.”

Dunleavy’s new position is effective immediately, and he is eager to get started.

“I think my first job right away is to listen and learn and try to get a feel for what everything is, to add my experience,” Dunleavy said. “Honestly, I think my greatest experience is having lived in that culture, which is Villanova’s strongest attribute.”