Ben Baird enters his 13th season as an assistant coach in 2021-22 with Bemidji State cross country and track & field teams.
Bemidji State was again in the national spotlight during its indoor and outdoor seasons as thrower Zoe Carrasco participated in the shot put at both NCAA Division II Track & Field National Championship meets. Carrasco earned fourth in the shot put during the indoor championships before becoming the program's first outdoor All-American since Kristi Buerkle in 2011. Carrasco earned a spot at the 2021 NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships after winning the NSIC Outdoor title in the shot put with a program record throw of 51-0.00, which was also the program's first NSIC individual title since Buerkle in 2011. The Beavers took eighth at the NSIC Outdoor Championships, just the second time finishing among the top 10 at the conference meet since 2012. Carrasco nabbed NSIC All-Conference honors at the 2021 NSIC Indoor Track & Field Championships with a second-place finish. BSU finished sixth at the NSIC Indoor Track & Field Championships, its highest finish at the conference meet since taking fourth in 2008. Carrasco earned USTFCCCA All-Academic after finishing with a GPA above 3.25 and provisionally qualifing nationally in the shot put. Carrasco ranked fifth in the shot put nationally outdoors and seventh in the event nationally indoors. Junior Coley Rezabek ranked 49th nationally outdoors in the javelin while sophomore thrower Tierra Doss ranked 43rd nationally in the shot put indoors.
Baird helped bring Bemidji State throws back to the national level with just the second NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship participant since 2008 in sophomore thrower Zoe Christensen. Her run at the indoor championships was cut short, though, as the event and the 2020 outdoor season were canceled due to COVID-19. Christensen earned the program's first indoor All-American honor for a thrower since Sheena Devine in 2008, while also earning USTFCCCA All-Region, after qualifying for the national event in the shot put. Christensen and fellow thrower Tierra Doss ranked among the top 40 (Christensen 12th/Doss 38th) in the nation in the shot put while Christensen also ranked 24th nationally in the weight throw. During the 2019-20 indoor season, the weight throw and discus (exhibition event) program records were broken while 11 top-10 marks in the shot put, weight throw and discus were set.
During the 2019 NSIC Outdoor Championships, three of Baird's throwers came one spot shy of earning All-NSIC honors as freshmen Zoe Christensen and Coley Rezabek took fourth in the shot put and javelin, respectively, and junior Gena Baklund took fourth in the hammer throw. Baklund set the BSU program record in the hammer throw during the outdoor season with a throw of 172-09. Baklund, Christensen, and Rezabek each finished within the top five best performances among NSIC performers in their respective events through the outdoor season, including top-11 performances by Baklund and Christensen among all NCAA Central Region performers. Christensen also came close to all-conference honors at the 2018-19 NSIC Indoor Championships with a sixth-place finish in the shot put, which ranked 10th among all NSIC performers through the season.
A 2000 graduate of Bemidji State, Baird totes a tremendous amount of track and field knowledge and experience as a student-athlete and a collegiate coach. He was an All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference performer and three-time NSIC All-Academic team selection while attending BSU.
Prior to coming back to BSU as an assistant coach, he served as an assistant track & field coach at South Dakota State University in 2009, an NCAA Division I institution. While at SDSU, Baird was the throwing events coordinator and was responsible for creating, implementing, and overseeing all throwing events, which included practice, recruiting, equipment, alumni relations, and travel.
Prior to his stint at SDSU, Baird was a personal trainer and fitness associate at a private health club. There he was not only involved training clientele to meet their fitness goals, he also gave lectures, performed fitness testing and was a health and fitness class instructor.
Baird also spent two years at BSU serving as the track and field programs’ graduate assistant coach from 2002-04.
He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and has garnered Level I and II certifications from USA Track and Field.
A native of Gemmell, Minn., Baird currently resides in Solway, Minn.