BALDWIN CITY, Kan. -- Baker University is a long way from the famous home field of the iconic Dallas Cowboys.
But it’s on this small campus in Baldwin City, Kansas, that the Cowboys new head coach, Mike McCarthy, developed the passion and leadership skills that would take him to the pinnacle of the coaching ranks in the National Football League.
On Wednesday, the Cowboys introduced McCarthy as the team’s new head coach. At his last stop with the Green Bay Packers, McCarthy won a Super Bowl.
But before any of those accomplishments in the NFL, McCarthy learned some of his earliest lessons on leadership and teamwork at Baker University.
“We take a lot of pride in the hard work that goes into producing people of character,” said Nate House, athletics director at Baker.
McCarthy played tight end for the Wildcats in the 1980’s. As a star player in high school, McCarthy figured he’d be catching touchdown passes for Baker. As it turned out, Baker's offensive scheme at the time had McCarthy doing more blocking than pass-catching.
Instead of complaining, McCarthy embraced his role, relishing the team concept in a humble, determined way. The people who know him say the experience likely stoked his passion for molding a group of players into a winning team.
“I’ve hung out with him probably four or five times over the years,” said Jason Thoren, head football coach at Baker. “And the one thing that really speaks to me is he’s really very humble, which is what I like.”
McCarthy still visits Baker frequently.
Before his head coaching stint with the Packers, McCarthy served as an assistant coach with Kansas City Chiefs under Marty Schottenheimer in the 1990’s.