Harris College caught up with Olympian and kinesiology alum Ronnie Baker ’16 where he delved into his time at TCU and how Harris College helped him achieve his goals. Baker majored in kinesiology with a health and fitness emphasis and was a sprinter on the track and field team where he became a two-time national champion in the 60 meters and a 12-time All-American.
What are you up to?
I am currently a professional track and field athlete for Adidas. I’ve competed on the biggest stage, the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in 2020, as part of Team USA where I placed fifth in the 100-meter dash.
How did Harris College prepare you for your career?
Harris College continues to help me in my profession daily. I learned how to pinpoint certain pain and, because I know my body so well, can implement preventative and rehabilitative strategies for my body. I am also able to communicate more effectively with therapists so they can help me be a faster sprinter. Harris College helped me learn to handle certain circumstances and obstacles when they come up in sports, and in life.
What skill(s) did you learn throughout the program that you found most useful in your career?
After studying the human body extensively, I learned that while all human bodies are designed the same, every human is unique and different in their own way. Understanding this helped me to successfully adapt to multiple personality types and coach other athletes based on what helps them get the best results, and not just through a science-based perspective.
How did your experience at Harris College help you find your first position after graduation?
Understanding my body at a much deeper degree than my fellow competitors at the collegiate level allowed me to win two NCAA titles while I was at TCU and set a collegiate record. This opened major doors for sponsorships and allowed me to transition to my profession at the next level.
What are you most proud of from your Harris College experience?
I’m most proud of graduating. Harris College was very challenging, even more so as an athlete given practice schedules and competitions around schoolwork.
What is something at TCU that you absolutely loved being a part of?
I loved being a part of the track and field team at TCU! It was an experience that I’ll never forget!
Was your Harris College experience worth the price?
My tuition was fully covered because I was on a full-ride scholarship for sports. I’m very thankful for the person who paid my way. If they saw the man I am today, I hope they would say it was money well spent.
If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?
I would dig deeper into my faith while in college.
What advice would you give a prospective Harris College student?
Come into the program with an open mind and be a sponge! Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help, and always go the extra mile! Going the extra mile puts you further ahead of where you would put yourself, not only in your potential and trajectory in life but also ahead of your peers.
What do you wish you would have known on your first day of school?
I felt lonely because I was so far away from my hometown in Louisville, KY. I wish I knew that I would be alright. That I just needed to be myself and didn’t have to worry about making friends.
What advice do you have for students as they look for future careers or future programs to apply to in your field?
Look for someone who’s doing what you want to do that you can shadow under. My senior internship was with someone who’s worked in track and field for decades and it made my love and passion for therapy, the body and my sport so much deeper! The competitive advantage these days is a simple handshake and a hello because people don’t communicate anymore. So, make sure you’re not hiding; be social and shake hands, and don’t be afraid to meet someone new.
How would you advise a current student to plan for their future?
Don’t wait, get started early! Talk to someone who’s been doing what you’d like to do for at least 10 years or longer. This will give you a good scope on what you’ll be getting into, and you can learn from that person’s wisdom, so you don’t make the same mistakes they made.