David Baker named new President/Executive Director

01/02/2014

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.

“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
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.

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


Recent Comments
  • Mark Edward Ziegler - April 18 2014 11:37 AM

    I am a former volunteer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I have watched the game football for the past 40 years. I sincerely wish that Mr. David Baker will keep the sport alive as Mr. Steven Perry has done for so many years. Good Luck and may God bless you!!

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  • DAVID M PERRY - March 26 2014 01:15 PM

    Mr. & Mrs. Baker, God has continued to bless Canton, Ohio; and Lord knows we needed that in order to continue the necessary expertise to manage sports most prestigious home for the enshrinement of the greatest football players that the game has ever known. I join my family in wishing you the best of success as the future unfolds. Thank you for becoming a Cantonian. p.s. An old "saying" in Canton is: ( CAN'T DIED ON THE SQUARE ) !

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  • Amanda Welden - March 20 2014 10:01 PM

    Welcome to Ohio and ProFootBall of Hall of Fame. When I meet you the first day I was very happy. The hall of fame knows who to get for the new president. We'll Mr.baker I heard you got some MaryAnn Donuts. How much did you like them? Ok like I said welcome Ohio and ProFootBall of Hall of f fame. Amanda Welden

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  • Amanda Welden - January 17 2014 08:30 PM

    Welcome to Ohio and ProFootBall of Hall of Fame. When I meet you the first day I was very happy. The hall of fame knows who to get for the new president. We'll Mr.baker I heard you got some MaryAnn Donuts. How much did you like them? Ok like I said welcome Ohio and ProFootBall of Hall of f fame. Amanda Welden

    reported

  • ellen - January 15 2014 06:21 PM

    Congrats on your new position. New business: I think the hall of fame should limit the first 5 year eligible to 2. It is not fair to put in more current players when there are so many over 5 years waiting and will probably have to wait until they are old, crippled or dead to get in. They should have: 5 year (2 candidates) senior (2 candidates)6 years -25 years (3 candidates)

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  • Stan Greenwald - January 08 2014 10:47 AM

    Great choice by the Hall of Fame. Dave appears to be the perfect successor to to Steve. Best wishes to him in his position and his families new home. Stan Greenwald

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  • Don and Lillian Steele - January 07 2014 07:22 AM

    I am so sorry that in my haste to give welcome to John and Colleen I called Mrs. Baker by the wrong name. I'll accept a 15 yard penalty for my error Sincerely, Don Steele

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  • Don and Lillian Steele - January 06 2014 03:19 PM

    We welcome you to Canton, Ohio John and Michelle. Stephen and Sondra were our close friends and now we open our hearts and best wishes to the Bakers.

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  • John & Michele Staples - January 03 2014 05:53 PM

    We are elated at the HOF's choice for it's new leader. We know first hand at the leadership quality possessed by our friend David Baker. We have been huge supporters of the Pro-Football Hall of Fame, and this selection makes it easier for our support to continue. I have had a close association with Michelle Hunt within that great organization and I am sure all the HOF staff will quickly see how dynamic of a leader David will be. Long live pro football and all of it's leagues.......big john

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  • Brian Fox - January 03 2014 11:13 AM

    Congratulations to Commissioner Baker! What a great choice. Was a great commissioner and ambassador of the AFL and a fan favorite. I wish him and Colleen only the best. Happy New Year to both of you!! By the way... time flies! Can't believe Sam just completed his 6th year with Atlanta.. seems as if it was just a few years ago he was with USC.

    Report Violation

  • Brian Fox - January 03 2014 11:08 AM

    Congratulations to Commissioner Baker! What a great choice. Was a great commissioner and ambassador of the AFL and a fan favorite. I wish him and Colleen only the best. Happy New Year to both of you!! By the way... time flies! Can't believe Sam just completed his 6th year with Atlanta.. seems as if it was just a few years ago he was with USC.

    Report Violation

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