Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker retires

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has a new president.

David Baker announced Saturday that he is stepping down as president and executive director, a role he occupied since 2014. Though Baker has turned over day-to-day business operations, he'll continue to represent the Hall of Fame at Ring of Excellence ceremonies to honor members of the 2020 and 2021 classes at NFL stadiums for the remainder of the presentation schedule.

"As I approach the end of nearly eight years of service to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for someone else to have the 'best job in the world' so I can still do a few more exciting things in my professional life while also returning home to our four children, 10 grandchildren and soon-to-be great grandson in Orange County, California, whom I've missed so much during my tenure at 'The Most Inspiring Place on Earth,'" Baker said in a statement. "Accordingly, effective immediately, I am removing myself from all day-to-day operational responsibilities so my wife, Colleen, and I can begin our move home, but I'll still be available for ceremonial duties over the coming weeks ahead."

Among Baker's most notable accomplishments: the promotion of health-related causes for former NFL players and their families, launching the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic to celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and overseeing the selection of a 20-member Centennial Class in 2020 to commemorate the league's 100th birthday.

"Few people combine vision, passion and dedication as completely as David Baker," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "In seven years as president and CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, David expanded the Hall's brand nationally and footprint locally in Canton, Ohio. The growth he envisioned led to the expansion of the Hall of Fame, spread to downtown Canton and will continue to have a tremendous impact on the future of the Hall for decades to come.

"His mission to honor and support the heroes of the game will be one of his most lasting and important legacies. We are grateful for David's many contributions and extend our utmost thanks and best wishes to Colleen and him."

The Hall announced that Jim Porter, who's served as its chief marketing and communications officer since April of 2020, has been named the new president. Porter joined the Hall of Fame after 33 years in daily print journalism.

"David Baker lifted the Pro Football Hall of Fame to new heights. He helped make the words 'Canton' and 'Excellence' synonymous," Hall of Fame chairman of the board of trustees Dennis Nash said. "Jim Porter as president along with the next executive director of the Hall step into an organization with a unique place in the game of football and a strong national reputation."

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