Kevin Baker served South Australian Amateur and Police Football for over 20 years, he also used to run grueling pre-season camps for the Adelaide Crows. Now Fiasco Sports welcomes him to the South Australian Footballer Magazine Hall of Fame.
Former Tea Tree Gully and Walkerville rover, Kevin Baker debuted as a 16-year-old in the SAAFL, played over 200 games and coached his beloved “Gullies” for 10 years.
If it were not for his day job as the General Manager of Smart Bar in Lonsdale, “Bakes” would still have a huge involvement with football here in South Australia.
However, he said he did not have much football or sporting involvement now after moving to Victor Harbor.
“I did used to play cricket as a kid but now I’m just running around after my little ones,” he said.
Baker’s playing career was full of team and individual achievements after winning premierships and best and fairest honours.
“In my first year playing as a 16-year-old we won a B grade premiership,” he said.
“I went on to kick the first goal of the game after I was head-butted before the first bounce by my Salisbury North opponent.
“That was a nice welcome to amateur football.”
Baker’s transition from playing to coaching was a smooth one with Tea Tree Gully as he coached through numerous premierships.
He said that the A grade premiership he coached with the Gullies in 2012 was one of the highlights from his illustrious playing and coaching career.
Baker also played in successful seasons, having played in two premierships, and player/coaching a B grade premiership in 2001.
As far as individual awards are concerned, Baker humbly accepted a best and fairest award after playing just nine games in a season – what an achievement.
However Baker’s footballing career, whether it was playing or coaching, came to an abrupt halt in 2006 after moving to Iraq for work.
The ex-Star Force Officer moved to the Middle East to work in private security and missed another Tea Tree Gully premiership coached by Mark Weaver.
Prior to this, Baker’s Police and Star Force career did not stop him from playing the game that he loved.
Furthering his service to South Australian football, Baker played in the South Australian Police Football Team and put in a best on ground performance in Launceston at what is now known as Aurora Stadium.
Baker said there were many great influences on his career but named two coaches as providing the best mentoring.
“I’d have to say Paul Pisani, and Graham Dunstan, who was also at Collingwood and Norwood,” he said.
Baker said he also played with some big names in South Australia such as ex-St Kilda and Hawthorn player Robert “Chopper” Handley, and Matthew Kluzec who of course, played for the Adelaide Crows.
These days, Baker still follows the Crows and said the AFL was much more free-flowing and wasn’t as rough as it was when he was playing.
Baker’s background as a Police and Star Force Officer came in handy once again as he used to train and condition the Adelaide Crows players in pre-season camps.
Kevin Baker has enjoyed a fruitful career in South Australian amateur football, serving for over 20 years and tasting success in every role he has held.
Hopefully for the sake of South Australian football and the Tea Tree Gully Football Club, we see him back coaching towards another premiership one day soon.
Written by Michael Lorenzoni