Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baker to induct McCarthy into Hall of Fame

October 18, 2007

Mike McCarthy, head coach of the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers, will be inducted into Baker University's Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday on the Baldwin City campus.

The induction ceremony will take place at approximately 1:45 p.m. at the Collins House on the corner of Eighth and Elm streets, which is on the west edge of Baker's campus. The ceremony will be held after a private luncheon. Later Saturday, McCarthy will serve as honorary captain for the Wildcat football team. The Wildcats will play host to Central Methodist at 6 p.m. at Liston Stadium. The Green Bay coach also will be honored at halftime.

McCarthy, the 14th head coach in the Packers' storied history, has guided the Packers to a 5-1 record in 2007 and an overall record of 13-9 since becoming their coach in 2006. The Packers, who have an open date this weekend, have won nine of its past 10 games under McCarthy.

"To have a Baker University's athletic alumnus make it to the pinnacle of coaching as a head coach of an NFL team is just unimaginable," said Baker athletic director Dan Harris, an assistant football coach for the Wildcats in the mid-1980s when McCarthy played at Baker. "Mike has created a new level of respectability for a traditional powerhouse NFL football program."

McCarthy, a 1987 Baker graduate, was named Green Bay's head coach on January 12, 2006, becoming the university's first alumnus to lead a major sports franchise. A Pittsburgh native, McCarthy played the 1985 and 1986 seasons at Baker after attending Salem (W. Va.) College and Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. He was a tight end and team captain for Baker during its run to the NAIA title game in 1986.

"Mike was a confident athlete with a strong desire to be part of a successful program," Harris said. "His athletic work ethic was infectious and he was respected as a team leader both on and off the field."

After graduating from Baker with a business administration degree, McCarthy began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coaching linebackers at Fort Hays State in 1987. He was an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 1989 to 1992 before launching his NFL coaching career.

Current Baker head coach Mike Grossner played with McCarthy at Scottsdale in 1984 and served as a graduate assistant with him at Fort Hays State.

"Mike made himself a great coach," Grossner said. "He worked hard at recruiting and coaching and took the necessary steps to get where he is today. He learned under some great coaches and had formed his own philosophy of how he would do it when given the chance. He truly has Green Bay believing in themselves and playing at a high level late last year and into this year."

Before taking over the Packers, McCarthy served as an NFL assistant for 13 years, coaching with the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers. He was offensive coordinator with the Saints from 2000 to 2004 and with the 49ers in 2005 before taking over as Green Bay head coach.

"Mike really enjoyed his time at Baker and wants to give back to the football program," Grossner said. "Having his name associated with our university and program gives us more exposure nationally. He will always be close to this program and hopefully after this weekend our players will feel a little more connected to him as a person."

McCarthy becomes the 103rd member of Baker's Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1977. Baker, the oldest university in Kansas, is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2007-2008.

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