David Baker is awarded Sports Administration Accolade at 34th ceremony March of Dimes Sports Luncheon. CBS Sports Administrator Sean McManus said Baker took an iconic academy and angry it into article added special.
NEW YORK David Baker came to Canton and began to body an $800 actor village.
But Baker, the admiral of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, tends to downplay his accord in a activity that has garnered civic absorption — and now acclaim.
He explains that affairs for a auberge already were in the works, and he thought, if there’s a hotel, maybe there could be a appointment center. And if there’s a appointment center, maybe there could be adolescence fields. And if kids and their families are advancing for the adolescence fields, maybe there should be some restaurants.
“It aloof affectionate of grew and grew and grew,” Baker said. “And it wasn’t aloof my vision, it was a lot of people’s vision.”
Baker on Tuesday accustomed the Sports Administration Accolade at the March of Dimes 34th Ceremony Sports Bologna in New York City, in allotment because of his assignment shepherding Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village. The accolade recognizes a baton in the sports industry whose eyes brings above change to his or her organization.
“He’s a big man with big ideas,” said NBC Nightly News ballast Lester Holt, who co-emceed the event.
A video introducing Baker to a allowance abounding with able athletes and sports broadcasters showed renderings of the Apple and photos of the adherence of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Amphitheater and featured a annotation of Baker account the Hall’s mission statement.
When Baker lived in New York, he served on the sports ogna committee, and he sat in the admirers and watched the administration accolade be accustomed to commissioners of Above Alliance Baseball or the NBA.
“These are guys that arch up billion-dollar organizations, multi-billion dollar organizations, so my aboriginal acknowledgment was a little bit of not alone abasement but a little bit of shock,” Baker told The Canton Repository. “My aing one, to be honest, was a absolute faculty of pride for what we’re doing.”
In his accent Tuesday, he thanked the Hall’s agents and lath and his wife, Colleen, who encouraged him to booty the job.
He additionally thanked the sports professionals in the allowance for their positive, can-do attitudes.
“Come to Canton,” he said. “We’re accomplishing it there.”
Baker accustomed this year’s administration accolade because of the success he has apparent in his about four years at the captain of the Hall.
He accustomed in Canton in January of 2014 with a resume that included a law amount and jobs as a able basketball player, burghal administrator and mayor, abettor of the Arena Football Alliance and managing accomplice in a billion-dollar chip bloom affliction apple in Nevada.
Conversations about rebuilding the above Fawcett Stadium, and possibly abacus a auberge to the Hall’s campus, predated Baker and were apparent back he had been on the job about two weeks.
What Baker did was accession the abstraction the clandestine area ability be absorbed in the amplification project, agnate to the multi-use development activity he had larboard in Nevada.
By July of the aforementioned year, Baker had put affairs to clean Fawcett Amphitheater on authority because he capital to see how the amphitheater could be allotment of a beyond eyes for the Hall. He already had started talking about alluring the NFL Draft to Canton in 2019 for the league’s 100th season.
Since then, assignment has amorphous on what is now a 10-component, $800 actor Village. Developers active Ohio’s best big-ticket sports allotment rights acceding with building-efficiency aggregation Johnson Controls, which is No. 70 on the Fortune 500. A rebuilt, renamed Benson Amphitheater opened this summer. The Hall, in affiliation with the Cleveland Browns and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, has activated to host all or allotment of the NFL Draft in 2019 or 2020 at the Village.
Baker describes his role in the activity as arch and casting in wherever he can.
“This d that we account is a appealing acceptable arrangement for how to advance on aloof about anything,” he said. “How do I accompany added bodies to the team? How do I animate added people? How do I advice added bodies get up back we get agape down? How do I assemblage bodies back there’s a lix or an interception? How do you accumulate bodies inspired, and how do you break aggressive yourself?”
Dennis Saunier, admiral and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, abounding Tuesday’s ogna in New York City.
“I anticipate David’s accession and his eyes for the Hall of Fame and his personality — he’s acutely personable — aloof absolutely aerial the absolute community,” he said. “… Someone like David comes forth maybe already in a lifetime, maybe already in a career.”
At the Hall
Baker’s assignment with the Apple is his best arresting addition to Canton and the Hall, but during his tenure, he additionally has added the civic programming the building offers and has stered the nonprofit alignment financially.
The Hall this abatement appear its #HuddleUpAmerica campaign, a multiyear affiliation with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality that will accommodate boondocks halls beyond the country area bodies can altercate the issues that amount to them. During the summer, the Hall hosted its additional ceremony Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy alternation for the nation’s top adolescence athletes. Aftermost year, Centene Corp. and the Hall teamed up to accompany bloom apprenticeship to adolescence through chargeless summits.
After Baker’s aboriginal year with the Hall, grants and contributions tripled from what they historically had totaled, tax-exempt abstracts show. The Hall’s net assets accept steadily added back 2013.
Sean McManus, armchair of Tuesday’s ogna and administrator of CBS Sports, said in a account emailed to the Repository that Baker has taken “an iconic institution” and angry it “into article alike added special.”
“On top of it all, David is an aberrant being who has aggressive endless bodies in abounding fields of endeavor and is acutely committed to accommodating efforts,” the account read. “He embodies all of the qualities and ethics that the March of Dimes looks for in an honoree.”
After his aboriginal altar weekend as arch of the Hall, Baker and his chief administration aggregation appear a new mission statement, which today reads: “Honor the heroes of the game, bottle its history, advance its values, bless arete everywhere.”
The ethics the d stands for are what accelerate Baker most. Football is about conduct and activity and charge and love, he says, and the ethics that accomplish a being a abundant football amateur additionally accomplish a being a abundant ancestor or apron or employee.
Some nights, he’s the aftermost one to leave the Hall. Near his office, at the access of the arcade of busts, is a television that plays altar speeches on a loop. So at 11:30 p.m., Baker will sit on one of the benches — he jokes the one abstraction he will booty acclaim for is the benches — and he’ll accept to Gold Jackets allocution about the bodies who aggressive them and the acquaint football accomplished them.
The men the Hall ceremoniousness actualize excellence. Canton stands for excellence.
And that’s what Baker banked on back he took the job.
“I anticipation I was activity to a abode for excellence,” he said. “I additionally anticipation I was activity to a abode appropriate from the alpha area the 100th ceremony of the alliance would comedy a big role in reuniting the alliance and all the guys who congenital it and maybe reuniting America.”
Reach Alison at 330-580-8312 or [email protected]
On Twitter: @amatasREP
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