On September 28, 2013, I was privileged to be a part of a very special celebration.
My Dad, aka Papa, was inducted into the Henderson State University, Reddie Hall of Honor.
This prestigious award is described to belong to the most legendary figures in the history of Reddie athletics.
That word is not associated with the majority and only belongs to those in an elite category.
Those that excel, and show exemplary leadership and performance in their sport.
My Dad's attribution was that of a Coach.
Not just any coach, but one that led his men with enthusiasm, dedication and fortitude.
My Dad worked seven days a week, 14 hours a day or MORE for my whole "growing up" life.
We had a few vacations sprinkled out over the years, but most of our "vacation" time was spent traveling to visit relatives (not that I didn't consider that a vacation, but...you know what I mean, right?)
I never really understood or truly appreciated at the time the rarity of the situation. My dad went to great efforts to assure our family the continuity and love of and for community.
He grew up moving dozens of times. He experienced being the new kid over and over.
He wanted differently for his family.
I am so thankful he had such aspirations.
I enjoyed a small town life with larger than life love.
I came to appreciate (admittedly, it took me a while) the benefits to a close-knit community.
I grew up being a part of and eventually belonged to the School with a Heart.
He'll always be "Coach" to many men and students.
He is "Papa" to my children.
I am proud to call him DAD.
The following pictures are of the ceremony and from the game that day. You can tell from the photos that Dad doesn't meet a stranger and has many, many friends. He speaks highly of his players and fellow coaches. I've heard him time and time again express how proud he is to be a part of the Reddie family. He continues to support and work toward the betterment of the University.
His Bio in the program read as follows:
George Baker served as an assistant football coach from 1974 to 1995 and was a part of four AIC Championships and two NAIA playoff teams. Baker served two years in the U.S. Army and played on the 8th Army Championship team in 1968. After his military tour, Baker returned to OBU and served as defensive coordinator for four years before making the wise decision to join Coach Sporty Carpenter’s staff in 1974. Baker was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1976. After seven years as offensive coordinator, Baker became the Reddie defensive coordinator in 1983. Baker’s tenure at Henderson was second-most among male coaches. Baker is also an author having written a book about Sporty Carpenter entitled "When Lightning Struck the Outhouse."
the man on the left was Dad's high school football coach! (not to take away from the wonderful man on the right -- his brother)
Couldn't be more proud!
I love these folks!
45 years of wedded bliss between these two!
love this picture of the Hubs with Papa (glad to see this U of A grad in a REDDIE shirt!) ;)
They even knew one of is nicknames! ;)
Keeping this crew entertained during the ceremony was interesting...
I have great memories of rolling down the hills of Carpenter-Haygood Stadium
this one says it all...