THE BAKER GOLF TOURNAMENT - Honoring Vision and Leadership

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David Baker (1937-2002) grew up in Bartlesville, OK and is the man who we honor with this event. A three-sport All-Stater in football, basketball, and baseball. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in 1955 under legendary coach, Bud Wilkinson. In 1959 he was drafted into the NFL as the fifth pick of the first round by the San Francisco 49ers. Baker played cornerback for the 49ers for three seasons (1959-1961) and still to this day holds the 49ers' interception record per season, having 21 career interceptions, averaging 7 per season. In 1959, his rookie season, he was selected to the NFL All-Pro team. After serving two years in the US Army, a return to the NFL to a signed contract seemed eminent.  

Connecting with SNU However, by divine intervention, a different path would be charted. In 1959 Dr. Roy Cantrell, President of SNU asked David to help begin intercollegiate athletics and be a professor of physical education. The position would include serving as the first athletic director and head basketball coach. Setting aside a lucrative NFL contract and all of its amenities, David and Edna Baker traveled to Bethany, OK, signed an SNU contract worth $3,600, annually, and began a dream.

A vision for the future with no intercollegiate program, no scholarships, and no budget, Coach Baker set out with a goal of  SNU becoming one of America's finest small college athletic programs. At age 27, with a background in the country's finest collegiate football program (OU) and the NFL (49ers), Baker believed that the greatest impact and athletic experience could happen where "athletics in a Christian atmosphere" thrived.

During Baker's tenure (1964-1974) a long list of significant accomplishments occurred.  The long list included:  two men's basketball seasons garnered winning marks; Benchwarmer Club formed in 1968; first scholarships awarded in 1969; Redskin Revolution changed the course of sportsmanship in society; women's basketball, the addition of volleyball and men's and women's tennis; big man playing point innovation added in 1971 and copied nationwide; and the Spokesman Bicycle Tour group was formed.  

Also, the goal to achieve a national title in 10 years was set and reached with men's basketball title in 1981 under Coach Loren Gresham; all under the foundation of Mark 9:23. "All things are possible to him who believes,

" I speak for many when I say; Coach David Baker was a life-changer for me. As my coach, professor, mentor, colleague, and friend, he inspired me to be all that I could be, to live life in the "right way with the right priorities" and "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." I will forever be indebted.    -Dr. Larry Mills (‘66)

2016 marks the 12th year of the David Baker Golf Classic. This event raises much-needed funds to ensure that SNU's basketball program can accomplish its goals. Both Coach Adam Bohac and Coach Derek Dorris are dedicated to their athletes achieving academically and competing at the highest levels.

The Baker continues a vision by the SNU coaching staff to host a tournament at premier courses in which the participants get to see and feel the impact of their fund-raising. The Baker features the men's and women's basketball teams as active hosts for the golfers. The evening ceremony is complete with the full story of the purpose and mission of SNU Athletics. The past six years, with a full roster of 30 teams and 120 golfers along with many sponsors has made this a premier event that impacts our student-athletes.

Says Baker committee member Doug Eaton, "Thank you to all who contribute in any way to the success of this excellent event. "The Baker" as it has become known, is the primary source of outside funding for the SNU men's and women's basketball programs. During and after the season student athletes receive additional academic opportunities and can take additional classes to graduate with the highest of academic and athletic honors. Golfers and SNU Basketball players are looking forward to this premier event."

If you haven't already, we are asking that you join us in contributing in some way to the Baker Fund through the David Baker Classic Golf Tournament.

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Thank you for joining us in the Baker for 2016.

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