Pat Baker and Aaron Marston
By Ricky Goupille
In the last three years, UMPI has experienced some wrenching losses through the deaths of two of its athletic staff members: Pat Baker and Aaron Marston. The UMPI and Presque Isle community has assured us that no one will forget their positive impacts.
Pat Baker was an athletic training student in the 2000s. By 2011, he had returned to the university as an AT. He served in that capacity up until his tragic death in 2020. Current Head Athletic Trainer Brian Morrison graduated with Pat. In the summer of 2020, UMPI hired Morrison to become Pat’s assistant AT. “Pat had a tremendous impact on me not just personally, but professionally. I looked up to him during our four years as students and our 15 years of being very close friends,” Morrison said.
Pat was an outstanding AT and was beloved by athletes and colleagues because of his devotion to the craft.
In an all-too-similar loss two years later, beloved Exercise Science Professor and Women’s Soccer Coach Aaron Marston passed away.
Marston graduated from UMPI with a degree in athletic training in 1997. He returned to UMPI years later and became the head women’s soccer coach in 2019. “Aaron had a way about him to impact people by the way that he taught,” Morrison said. “He was basically a walking textbook.”
Marston and Baker’s losses were both equally as sorrowful to the community because of their effects on people and the voids they left behind. “Pat and Aaron were a tremendous loss, not just to the athletic department and the school, but just as friends and family,” Athletic Director Dan Kane said. “You really cannot replace them.”
The plan was originally for Pat and Aaron to share a memorial bench adjacent to the Park Family soccer field. This was an idea that collectively came to fruition. The one bench was the baseline goal. Then the community really stepped up.
Fundraising and donations began pouring in. People who didn’t even personally know Pat or Aaron donated generous sums. This is a true testament to who Pat and Aaron were. Even if you didn’t know them personally, you knew their impact and what they meant to UMPI. The fundraising exceeded expectations and allowed for two separate benches. It was the ultimate example of communal caring and generosity.
The memorial will serve as a great reminder of Pat and Aaron on campus. A bench dedication is the perfect way to honor them. “I think it’s a great way to honor them, especially with everything Aaron did for soccer, and also with how many long days Pat spent out at the soccer field for practices,” Kane said.
Both Pat and Aaron are examples of what it means to devote oneself to UMPI and to the community. “They (the benches) are a great symbol of what Pat and Aaron meant to this university, because they both left this university and came back,” Morrison said. “It’s a great memoriam for Pat and Aaron as they both bled blue and gold,”
“It will be nice to sit up there at the benches and remember those good times with Pat and Aaron,” Kane said.
Although the time and date for the bench dedication is uncertain, one thing does remain certain: we will not forget Pat Baker and Aaron Marston.