The Baker Orange

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy donates $500,000 to Baker football

Story by Chris Smith

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It pays to have friends in high places. Literally.

The National Football League, perhaps the definition of high places, shares a mutual friend with Baker University – Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

McCarthy, a 1987 Baker graduate, recently inked a $20 million deal to remain in Green Bay for the next five seasons. In appreciation for the school he maintains prepared him for his wildly successful NFL career, McCarthy has decided it’s time to give back.

“Much of my success in my career I owe to what I learned and took from my experiences there,” McCarthy said. “It’s an honor to be able to give back to the school and support it in a very meaningful way.”

Just how much giving is he doing? Try half a million dollars.<br/>"Mike's gift will make a huge impact on our football program," Athletic Director Dan Harris said. "We are all very excited.""Mike's gift will make a huge impact on our football program," Athletic Director Dan Harris said. "We are all very excited."
“Mike’s gift will make a huge impact on our football program,” Athletic Director Dan Harris said. “We are all very excited.”

Harris said McCarthy initiated the action by contacting the university even before he completed his new deal with the club.

“He told me he wanted to do something earlier this summer and would keep us in mind when reworking his contract,” Harris said.

The total $500,000 donation will be distributed to the Baker football program over the next five years, with $50,000 being taken out of McCarthy’s salary annually. The remaining half is to be matched by the Packers organization, as specified by McCarthy’s contract. 

“This is a major thing for a coach to request,” Harris said. “The fact that the Packers are matching his donation shows how important he really is to their organization.”

As for the administration’s plans for the munificent gift, Harris said they plan to endow 75 percent of the donation each year to ensure it continues to grow. After five years, the gift’s sum will allow for a scholarship in McCarthy’s honor to be given annually for the life of Baker football.

“My plan is to award the McCarthy scholarship to an outstanding junior college transfer student,” head coach Mike Grossner said. “Because (McCarthy) was a junior college transfer student when he attended Baker.”

By endowing 75 percent of the gift, Harris said there would be roughly $30,000 a year to be given directly to the football program. This money would aid in recruiting better talent and provide the financial resources for new gear and weight room equipment, Harris said. <br/>In fact, the dividends can already be seen in Mabee Gym as Baker has used a portion of McCarthy's gift to purchase new Jammer weight machines from the University of Kansas. With the Jayhawk logo still etched in the platform of the new apparatuses, the new equipment will help players improve their explosion and provide a full body workout.   In fact, the dividends can already be seen in Mabee Gym as Baker has used a portion of McCarthy's gift to purchase new Jammer weight machines from the University of Kansas. With the Jayhawk logo still etched in the platform of the new apparatuses, the new equipment will help players improve their explosion and provide a full body workout.   <br/>While the new financial advantages and fancy equipment are certainly reasons for the Baker community to be excited about the future, Harris understands that ultimately, what matters most is on field performance.While the new financial advantages and fancy equipment are certainly reasons for the Baker community to be excited about the future, Harris understands that ultimately, what matters most is on field performance.
In fact, the dividends can already be seen in Mabee Gym as Baker has used a portion of McCarthy’s gift to purchase new Jammer weight machines from the University of Kansas. With the Jayhawk logo still etched in the platform of the new apparatuses, the new equipment will help players improve their explosion and provide a full body workout.  
While the new financial advantages and fancy equipment are certainly reasons for the Baker community to be excited about the future, Harris understands that ultimately, what matters most is on field performance.

“There’s definitely a sense of self-inflicted pressure – a sense of responsibility – that comes with a gift like this,” Harris said. “I think both me and the coaches feel like we need to be successful to honor what coach McCarthy has done for us.”

These high expectations have already had a trickle-down effect, as it is not just the Baker football coaches that are prepared for future successes. The players, too, are ready to make good on the 2007 NFL Coach of the Year’s generous gift to the program.

“We definitely have high expectations,” tailback Blaine Crow said. “We’re a lot better than last year, and we have the potential to meet all our goals. It’s just a matter of coming together.”

If all goes well, the team will be unified and ready to go for its first game against Division I foe Tennessee-Martin on Sept 6. The ‘Cats should be undaunted by their opponents’ NCAA rank, however. After all, they have a friend in even higher places.