By Leigh Ann Wynn
Dallas Baker—“The Touchdown Maker”—sound familiar? You don’t have to be a Florida Gator fan to know who I’m talking about. Former captain of the University of Florida Gators football team, helping to win a National Championship, and then NFL Super Bowl champ, Dallas Baker is now the wide receiver coach at Warner University. Since joining the Warner team in July 2015, Baker has moved to Lake Wales, Florida, and taken the role at Warner on full-steam. Baker attributes the Lord bringing him to the Church of God college.
“I feel like I’ve been brought to Warner to be a mentor to the student players. Attending the chapel services with them not only helps them, but has helped me tremendously. I’m living in faith now,” says Baker.
Baker grew up in New Smyrna, Florida, near Daytona. He was raised fishing, hunting, surfing and boogie boarding. He’s a self-proclaimed ‘country boy.’ Baker is one of ten siblings. He played basketball for Northfield Mount prep school in Massachusetts and also played in the Junior Olympics. Who knew he’d have a Super Bowl ring one day?
Baker’s uncle and role model is NFL great and academic all-American Wes Chandler. Chandler also played football at the University of Florida and was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2015. Chandler coached professionally for the Dallas Cowboys and the Vikings and holds the NFL record for most receiving yards per game in a season. Baker says he owes a lot of his character-building morals to his uncle.
“My uncle taught me to cherish what is important and not waste money. The NFL years for me were tough when some family and friends would ask for money. I learned the hard way.”
Baker graduated after his successful years as a wide receiver at the University of Florida and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He says although those were prosperous years in the NFL, he was struck by many ailments, including surgeries and concussions, but still continued to play. It wasn’t making him happy any more.
After suffering a slight heart attack, he decided to determine what was important to him in life. Baker moved back to Florida to his seven-year-old daughter and his parents, who are both preachers. He was using this time to let the Lord lead him where he would.
And did he ever. Baker was working out one day in his hometown and wondering what he was to do next. He had received an offer to become a grad assistant, and hopefully work his way up the ladder to a coach position, back at his alma mater, UF. He didn’t feel like this was the plan. Then he ran into a coach from his younger days, Mr. Moskovits, whose son works at Warner University as the assistant baseball coach. He told him that Warner was looking for a wide receiver coach and this could be a great opportunity. One meeting with Coach Rod Shafer and Baker knew this was the place for him.
“Dallas truly gets what Warner’s mission is,” says Kevin Jones, athletic director at Warner. “He is a role model and he takes that seriously. He is a humble man who seeks to impact the lives of our students in a way that impacts the kingdom.”
We welcome Dallas Baker and his family into the Warner University family. We are proud to have him on our “team!”
Warner University, founded in 1968 by the Southeastern Association of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), is a co-educational, Christian university in the liberal arts tradition. The campus is located five miles south of Lake Wales Florida. The mission of Warner University is to graduate individuals who exemplify academic excellence and Christian character, who are prepared to lead and committed to serve. For more information about Warner University, please visit www.warner.edu, or call 863-638-1426.