David Lee Baker

Only 180 pounds and 6 foot, Wilkinson called him “one of the best defensive halfbacks we’ve ever had. He’s smart, a good leader, great tackler, has great desire and blankets passes. Baker is the killer type.” David still holds the OU bowl record for an interception return for a touchdown (94 yards vs. Duke in the ’57 Orange Bowl.). He ranks 6th on OU’s single season list for interception return yards with 148 in 1957. In 1959, Baker was drafted in the NFL’s 1st round by the San Francisco 49ers and immediately impacted the team with his ball hawking skills and bone crushing tackles. In 1960, he won the 49er’s most prestigious annual honor, the Len Eshmont Award, as the player who best exemplified inspirational and courageous play. Baker was the team leader in interceptions for every season that he played. He earned Honorable Mention All-Pro honors during his first 3 seasons and played in the Pro Bowl his rookie year. Before the 1962 season, Baker was drafted into the United States Army. He decided not to return to the NFL. Through his friendship with the President of Southern Nazarene University, Baker started the athletics program at SNU and became the first athletic director and coached the first basketball team in the school’s history. He stayed at SNU from 1964 to 1974. Baker died September 4, 2002.

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