Ex-Northern Illinois kicker Kent Baker signs free agent pact with AF2 Norfolk Nighthawks



May 17, 2002


DeKALB, IL ---Have kicker, will travel.

In essence, that’s the odyssey of former Northern Illinois University placekicker-punter Kent Baker who joined his third Arena Football League franchise in 14 months by signing a standard free agent contract with the Norfolk Nighthawks on Thursday (May 16). The signing was announced by Norfolk public relations director Mike McCaffrey.

Baker (Terre Haute, IN / North) will be activated by the league in time for the Nighthawks’ AF2 encounter with the Cape Fear Wildcats this Saturday (May 18) at 7:30 p.m. (EDT) at the Cumberland County Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC. Norfolk---coached by Tony Missick---enters the contest with a 1-4 won-lost record in the AF2 Atlantic Division. Cape Fear stands 3-2 to date this season. The Arena League regular season lasts 18 weeks and into July.

The 6-foot-1, 189-pounder hooked up with the Norfolk franchise with the help of his older brother Kraig Baker who handled the kicking duties at the University of Michigan and in the Arena League. Last season, the Northern Illinois-produced Baker was a free agent performer with both the AF2 Iowa Barnstormers and the AFL Detroit Fury.

Baker experienced a banner season as a senior for Huskie head coach Joe Novak in 1999. The soccer-style kicker tallied 71 kick-scoring points and made First-Team All-Mid-American Conference. A four-year Northern Illinois letterman, he ranked in six MAC stats categories in his final season---No. 1 in league field-goal percentage (.857 on 12-of-14), No. 1 in PAT kick percentage (1.000 on an NIU single-season record 35-of-35), No. 4 in kick-scoring (71 points), No. 7 in field goals (1.09 per game), No. 9 in overall scoring (6.5 ppg.), and No. 9 in punting (38.2 yards-per-punt average).

As a senior, Baker wound up No. 44 in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1-A field goals (1.09 per game) and booted two 49-yard field goals---which, at the time, represented the second-longest three-pointers in the Huskie Record Book behind All-Century PK Vince Scott who executed a 51-yarder vs. Toledo in 1983.

Baker produced a career-best 13 kick-scoring points (three field goals and four PATs) vs. Ball State in 1999 and converted on 6-of-6 placement boots vs. both Buffalo and vs. Kent State the same autumn. During his first three Northern Illinois campaigns, he concentrated on punting before “doubling up” as No. 1 placekicker as a senior. Baker set two school records with 257 career punts for 9,724 yards---for a 37.8 ypp. average in 44 appearances during 1996-99.

As a prep, he lettered in football (2), baseball (3), and soccer (4) at Terre Haute, IN, North High School.

(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek) -30-

(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek) -30-



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