The Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees announced today that David Baker has been named President and Executive Director, effective January 6, 2014.
“We are very fortunate to have such a successful and experienced entrepreneur and executive like Dave Baker join the Hall of Fame team,” said Tom Schervish, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “He has a consistent record of success in areas that are vital to the future success of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Baker brings a wealth of experience gained from more than 35 years of leadership in business management, professional sports and public service. For the last four years Baker has worked as a Partner in Union Village, LLC, the largest healthcare project in the United States creating thousands of jobs in Henderson, Nevada as the first Integrated Health Village in the world.
His professional sports career includes a 12-year tenure (1996-2008) as Commissioner of the Arena Football League (AFL). Under his leadership, the AFL experienced unprecedented growth in attendance, TV ratings, corporate sponsorships, merchandise sales, revenue and profitability. Baker first joined the AFL in 1995 when he purchased the Anaheim Piranhas. That same year he was elected the AFL’s Chairman of the Board.
The 6’9” Baker was a power forward and captain of the basketball team at the University of California at Irvine from 1971–75. He also played two seasons of professional basketball in Europe before returning to obtain a Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review.
“David is a dynamic executive with a strong football background. We look forward to supporting him in growing the Hall of Fame's record of success." - NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
As an attorney in California, Baker specialized in corporate mergers, acquisitions and real estate law. From 1984-88 he served as a City Councilman and Mayor of Irvine, California.
Baker will become the sixth President and Executive Director in the Hall of Fame’s 50-year history, succeeding Stephen A. Perry who has served since April, 2006. Perry announced last September that he planned to retire as soon as a successor was selected by the Board of Trustees following a national search.
"I have truly enjoyed being associated with the Pro Football Hall of Fame's members, staff and Trustees for nearly eight years. Much has been accomplished and many exciting opportunities are ahead for this great institution," said Perry. "We are delighted to welcome David Baker who many of us have had the opportunity to work with in the past. For example, in 2007, then Commissioner Baker came to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to join us in a ribbon-cutting ceremony as the Pro Football Hall of Fame unveiled an exhibit that chronicled the growth and development of the Arena Football League."
Hall of Fame Directors
Dick McCann (1962-67)
Dick Gallagher (1968-1975)
Pete Elliott (1979-1996)
John Bankert (1996-2005)
Steve Perry (2006-2014)
David Baker (2014- )
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several NFL team owners have worked closely with Baker in the past. "The bond between the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame is stronger than ever,” Commissioner Goodell said. “David is a dynamic executive with a strong football background. We look forward to supporting him in growing the Hall of Fame's record of success."
"I am humbled,” stated Baker “to be afforded the esteemed privilege of continuing Stephen Perry's leadership and the great work of the Pro Football Hall of Fame team in honoring the greatest heroes and legends of the game, preserving its rich history as well as promoting the positive values and noble virtues of a game that is central to our American culture and our country's strength of character."
Baker and his wife Colleen are relocating to Canton from Orange County California. They are the proud parents of four children. Their daughter, Leyla, 35 and, son, Michael Ray, 33, are located in California. Their two youngest sons have also been involved in football and professional sports. Ben, 31, is a former offensive lineman who received a scholarship to Duke and is now a Senior Manager of Broadcasting at NASCAR in Charlotte. Sam, 28, is a former three-time All-American left tackle at USC and has just completed his sixth year with the Atlanta Falcons where he was a first round draft pick in 2008.
More on ProFootballHOF.com:
History of the Hall of Fame
Photo Gallery: Hall of Fame through the years