Brandon Baker has long been resolute in his convictions, from the famously deliberate pace at which his East Carter boys basketball team has long played to instilling into a generation of Raiders the "MTXE" -- mental toughness, extra effort -- motto East Carter espouses.
So when Baker felt a change was in order, he couldn't help but act on it.
Baker, just over a month from tip-off of his 20th season as the Raiders' coach, resigned from that position on Tuesday.
"I love East Carter basketball and it will always be in my heart," Baker said. "It was simply time to step away."
Baker took over for his father, Charles, as coach in 2002. Since then, the Raiders have gone 273-250 with nine winning seasons in the ultra-competitive 62nd District. East Carter claimed five district tournament championships, went to four 16th Region Tournament semifinals and played in two region finals under Baker. The Raiders won the region tournament in 2010, going 23-6.
A Baker -- first Charles and then Brandon -- had coached the Raiders since 1976.
"There’s a reason why there has been a 'coach Baker' leading the East Carter boys basketball team for 40-plus years; their passion for East Carter basketball," East Carter High School principal Kelley Moore said. "Brandon Baker’s legacy will reflect that, his passion for basketball. His ability to put competitive teams on the floor is a testament to how he ran the program and his overall coaching skill. As a school and community, we are forever grateful to him for his years of service to the East Carter basketball program."
Brandon Baker thanked "the entire East Carter community for their support through the years and especially the coaches and players that have been a special part of my life" in a statement Wednesday.
"Love every one of them," Baker said. "As a coach, the bond that is developed with your players is one of the most precious and strongest to ever be formed. A big heart-felt thank you to all former and current East Carter basketball players for making this coaching experience the time of my life."
Baker, who said he will stay on as the school's athletic director, said he will "very much look forward to following the future of East Carter basketball and being its number-one fan.”
An attempt to reach Baker for additional comment Wednesday was unsuccessful.
Cole Brammer, a 2014 East Carter graduate who played under Baker before returning as an assistant coach, is currently handling the program, he said.
Baker was the third-longest-tenured active northeastern Kentucky boys basketball coach at the time of his resignation. Only Morgan County's Matthew Perry and Randy Anderson, who has led Lawrence County and Boyd County, have done it longer.
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