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20070611 Baker Joins Football Staff
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/11/2007
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TUCSON--Mike Stoops announced the hiring of former Wildcat letterman Bill Baker as assistant director of operations.

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Baker replaces Andrew Weidinger, who took over for Dan Berezowitz after last season. Weidinger will start a job with the Atlanta Falcons this summer. Berezowitz left for a similar position at Minnesota.

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Baker returns to Arizona after a wide-ranging tour of the football world, and gives Mike Stoopsˇ? staff some Wildcat bloodlines.

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"It's nice to have an Arizona alum as part of our program," Stoops said. "Especially someone with a wealth of experience, and NFL experience that should be a huge benefit to us. We haven't had that aspect before" in the recruiting and operations end of the program, he said.

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A three-year letterman as an Arizona linebacker in the mid 1970s, Baker went on to coaching or administrative positions in the prep ranks, the Big Ten, the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, Arena Football, the United States Football League and the XFL, plus a few more recent prep stints in the Tucson area.

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He brings a thorough understanding of the game plus a careerˇ?s worth of front-office and street experience to help direct the day-to-day operations and recruiting aspects of the Arizona program.

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"It's great to be back," Baker said. "I've had a few recent opportunities, but to do this at the University of Arizona outweighs any number of options. I'm eager to start helping us move forward," he said.

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He is a current member of the American Football Coaches Association and a member of the board of directors of the universityˇ?s A-Club letter winnerˇ?s group.

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A prep standout at hometown Laramie, Wyo., High School as a linebacker and fullback on two state championship teams, Baker played outside linebacker, center and tight end from 1973 to 1976 at UA, earning letters in 1973, 1975 and 76.

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His varsity career matched the tenure of College Football Hall of Fame member Jim Youngˇ?s coaching career at Arizona. Baker did play freshman ball in 1972 under Bill Belknap when Bakerˇ?s father, William Sr., was in his second season as the offensive line coach for then head coach Bob Weber in his final year.

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After graduation in 1977 as an honor student, Baker was an assistant coach at Rincon High School in Tucson for a season, then joined Youngˇ?s staff at Purdue as the running backs coach (ˇ?78), offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator (1979-82).

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Baker then served as a scout for six professional teams ?C Oakland, Michigan and Arizona of the USFL, and Kansas City, Philadelphia and New Orleans of the NFL ?C as well as league personnel stints for the Arena Football League and the XFL. He coached the first test game for the Arena league in 1986 and served as an NFL scout for 14 years overall.

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He also entered into work with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL and continued that evaluation duties until his hiring at UA.

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He was a teacher, football and golf coach at Sahuarita, Ariz., High School 2005-06 and a teacher and magnet enrollment recruiter for Tucson High School from 2003-05.

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Bakerˇ?s playing days at UA coincided with some of the great names in the schoolˇ?s history, including All-Americans Jim Oˇ?Connor, the late Theopolis Bell, Mike Dawson and Keith Hartwig. Others on his UA clubs included Bruce Hill, Jon Abbott, Mark Lunsford, Jim Upchurch, Willie Hamilton, Lee Pistor, Ron Beyer, Scott Piper and Rex Naumetz, among many. ?The UA coaching staffs he played under included assistants Larry Smith, John Mackovic, Bob Bockrath, Willie Peete and Sharkey Price.

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Baker earned his degree in education from UA in 1977 and is working on a masterˇ?s degree in education leadership from Northern Arizona University.

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