David Baker Retires as President of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

October 16, 2021

David Baker, a commanding presence who often dons the brightest colored coats, has announced his retirement as president and CEO of the Professional Football Hall of Fame.

Baker, watched by many fans with videos of “the knock” as he briefed some of the league’s best former players and coaches who were officially Hall of Famers, and the Hall of Fame made the official announcement on Saturday. . Baker will continue to make appearances in handing out Hall of Fame rings to members of the Centennial Class of 2020 and Hall of Fame Class of 2021, but will relinquish control over the day-to-day operations of the Hall of Fame.

This weekend in Denver, as part of former Broncos safety Steve Atwater’s ceremony in the Class of ’20 Hall, Baker was asked about his travel schedule for ceremonies in an appearance on Friday. at night and said simply, “I think it’s time to try and see my grandchildren.”

On Saturday, the 68-year-old formally announced his retirement.

In a statement, Baker said: “As I approach the end of nearly eight years of service in the Professional Football Hall of Fame, I have come to the conclusion that it is time someone else had the ‘best job of the world, ‘so I can still do some more exciting things in my professional life while also returning home to our four children, 10 grandchildren, and future great-grandchild in Orange County, California, whom I missed so much during my tenure. in ‘The Most Inspiring Place on Earth.’ ”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement that “few people combine vision, passion and dedication as completely as David Baker … His mission to honor and support the heroes of the game will be one of his greatest legacies. lasting and important. We are grateful for David’s many contributions and extend our greatest thanks and best wishes to him and Colleen. ”

Baker had received a five-year contract extension as Salon president and CEO at the end of 2018.

Jim Porter, the Hall of Fame director of communications and marketing since April 2020, has been named President of the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Board of Directors will also evaluate the Hall of Fame’s management structure in the search for a new CEO.

In addition to attempting to raise the profile of the annual announcement of each Hall of Fame class, Baker oversaw the expansion of the Hall that began with the construction of Tom Benson Stadium, as well as the commencement of construction of the Hall of Fame Village, a term project that would include a hotel, a sports complex for youth sports and a conference center.

However, after construction of the stadium was completed it was halted in 2018 as companies involved in the project sought to be paid for work that had already been completed. The project was subsequently restarted without Baker leading the development group.

“David Baker elevated the Football Hall of Fame to new heights. He helped make the words Canton and excellence synonymous,” said Dennis Nash, chairman of the Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. “Jim Porter as President along with Next Executive Hall Director entered an organization with a unique place in soccer and a strong national reputation.”

Before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, Baker, an attorney, had played professional basketball in Switzerland and served as mayor of Irvine, California. He spent 12 years as a commissioner of the Arena Football League.