After 36 seasons on the Spartan sidelines - including 32 years as head coach of the program - Joe Baum retired from MSU in June 2011. He had been associated with Spartan soccer for a combined 39 seasons as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Baum announced in August of 2008 that the coming season would be his last as head coach for the Spartans. His top assistant and former and Damon Rensing would take over the Spartan program; Baum would stay on as assistant. The duo has switched roles on the sideline, but the result is a seamless transition that keeps tradition and success in great quantities on the Spartan staff.
In his final season as head coach, Baum made 2008 one of the most memorable and successful seasons in Spartan history. In his final regular-season home game, the Spartans clinched their first Big Ten regular-season title in Baum's tenure with a 1-0 win over Northwestern. MSU then went on to take the Big Ten Tournament championship, its second since 2004.
During his tenure at Michigan State, Baum has written his name among the titans of college soccer. The 1969 MSU graduate has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (1996, 2000, 2008) and he has mentored the Spartans to 22 winning seasons. He finished his career with 320 career victories and became just the second coach in Big Ten history to reach 300 career wins, reaching the mark on Sept. 9, 2007, when MSU defeated Vermont.
Baum guided MSU to four NCAA Tournament appearances (2001, 2004, 2007, 2008), mentored 57 different All-Big Ten players and had five players, drafted in the MLS in his last five seasons. He also coached two of the greatest players in MSU history, All-Americans Ryan McMahen and Doug DeMartin.
Baum also helped build MSU women's program, serving as the program's first head coach from 1986-90 and compiling an impressive 69-23-5 (.737) record. Impressively, he mentored both the MSU men's and women's programs over that five-year span. Tom Saxton, who played for Baum from 1980-82, is in his 19th season as the Spartans' women's head coach.
Baum began his coaching career in 1969 at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville as an assistant and then took a similar post at Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1972-74.
In 1974, Baum came to Michigan State as an assistant to Ed Rutherford and held the position for three seasons, helping State post a record of 25-7-3 (.757). He was promoted to the head coaching position in 1977.
A three-year soccer letterman at MSU from 1966-68, Baum helped lead the Spartan program to a 33-1-7 record, including a 33-game unbeaten streak. He was in goal for two NCAA co-championship squads and was named to the 1968 All-Midwest team by the National Soccer Coaches of America. Baum still owns the second-lowest career goals-against average (0.70) in Spartan men's soccer history.
Baum received his bachelor's degree in communications from MSU in 1969 and a master's degree in counseling from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in 1971.
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