As a player Baxter played for Exeter for 14 years and served as the club's captain for 10 years. Following his retirement he moved into coaching the University of Exeter side while acting as a forwards coach for the Chiefs. Rob Baxter was appointed to the position of acting coach head coach of Exeter Chiefs following the sacking of former coach Pete Drewett in March 2009. On 7 May 2009 it was announced that Baxter will be taking over the position of Head Coach of the Exeter Chiefs. In Baxter's first season as coach, he led the team to promotion from the RFU Championship to the Premiership. Baxter's efforts in establishing Exeter as a strong Premiership side were recognised when he won the 2011/12 Director of the Year award at the Aviva Premiership awards, having also been nominated for the honour the previous season.
It was announced on 26 March 2013 that Baxter would join the England coaching team for the summer tour to Argentina and Uruguay.