HIGH SCHOOLS

Dayton Schools approve Baker

Former Dunbar star takes AD job after first offer was rescinded.

ByJohn Cummings Contributing Writer
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DAYTON — Mark Baker said the lessons his mother taught him growing up in Dayton were tough to follow sometimes the past month.

Baker, the former Dunbar basketball standout, was offered the athletic director job with Dayton Public Schools only to have it rescinded.

Torrance Hill, a Central State grad and former women’s basketball coach and assistant AD at Wilberforce, also was a finalist for the position.

Tuesday night, Dayton’s school board unanimously approved Baker as its AD.

“All my life I have always had to come from the mindset to keep my head up and persevere,” said Baker, who will make $84,000 a year. “My mom, she instilled that in me and it is what I tried to extend to others. Good or bad, you have to stay committed. This tested my faith.”

Board President Adil Baguirov said last week the initial hiring

process was outdated.

“We have been going t h ro u g h m o nu m e n t a l changes,” Baguirov said Tuesday night. “We have had more change in six months than in a lifetime.

“The whole process was flawed because some laws changed and it was just a process that was very much flawed. The board had to step in, even though we just about never do that.”

While the new process identified Baker as the best candidate, Baguirov said the whole district wins with the changesinthehiringprocess.

“What we gained was a superior process for all our new hires,” Baguirov said. “We also have an athletic director who can hold his head up high knowing that there can be no allegations and no problems with his hire because everything was done clean and clear.”

Baker applauded the way the board handled the situation.

“I have to give the board credit for staying committed to the process,” he said. “They followed every detail needed, and I am going to follow them. They are the true individuals that made it happen.”

Baker resigned this spring as the basketball coach at Middletown after three seasons because the chance to return home was something that pulled at his heart. At Middletown, he finished 42-34 and won a Greater Miami Conference title.

“I am honored and humbled. This has been a long time coming,” said Baker, who also has served as the head coach at Trot-wood-Madison.

“Forty years ago this was my destiny before I picked up the first basketball at Dunbar. It was my destiny to come back and help the very district that saved me.”

Baker was a high school All-AmericanatDunbaranda standout at Ohio State before playing in the NBA briefly for the Toronto Raptors.

“We have a road of challenges ahead of us,” Baker said. “But one of the good things is this community has always been committed to athletics, and I have had alumni reach out to me about helping out where they can.

“It it is important to have that support and for our kids to see that.”

Baker replaces Jonas Smith, who resigned in March. Smith is expected to remain on the job until the end of July.

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