Your experience as a college football player can teach you many things and help shape you to be the person that you’re going to become. Former NC State running back Toney Baker learned a lot about hard work and perseverance during his time at NC State. He came in as one of the highest recruits that the school has ever seen, with extremely high expectations. What ensued was Baker missing nearly two entire seasons because of injury. Baker ultimately played three seasons for NC State and finished with 2,045 rushing yards (12th all-time at NC State) and 17 touchdowns (11th all-time), before deciding to forego his final year of eligibility (6th) to pursue his professional career. Baker went undrafted, but was picked up by the Denver Broncos.
“It was a phenomenal experience. I had a really good camp. I was released sometime in August or September,” said Baker. “They tried to get me out to Canada to meet with some specialist, because we found out I had a couple herniated discs in my back. With all of my knee surgeries, I just knew in my gut, it was time to make a move. Even if I was to have the surgery, long-term I just didn’t feel like it was there for me.”
After working as a recruiter in Raleigh for 5 years, Baker and has now moved down to South Carolina, and is now the Assistant Director at Grand Strand Medical Center in South Carolina, where he manages all of the day to day environmental services of the hospital, and manages a staff of 40 people.
“It’s great. I stay very busy. It’s an intense job, but I love it,” said Baker. “It’s been really good for me. I’m married, with two little girls. I’m a family man and a working man. Life is good.”
Baker said that being a college football player at NC State was instrumental in preparing him to go into the workforce.
“It gave me a lot of structure and it also took away all the excuses. As a student athlete you have a lot of tasks that seem impossible to get done. They just have to get done. Period. I try to take that mentality to my professional life now,” said Baker. “When things need to get done, you find a way to get them done. Failure isn’t an option. You have to find a way to make it work. That attitude that was shaped in me as a college athlete, has worked really well for me professionally. Playing college football at NC State helped develop an intense work ethic in me, and that’s carried over into my professional career, and it’s taken me a long way.”
Whether a college athlete plays professionally afterwards doesn’t determine whether or not they are successful. That is determined by how they apply the things they learned from their collegiate experience, wherever it takes them. Congratulations Toney Baker! You’re a success.