Perry Baker: FSU's Connection to the Rio Olympics

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Update Aug. 9, 2016

Read a summary of Tuesday's Team USA performance in the Men's Rugby Sevens by Chris Thomas:

Update Aug. 9, 2016

Check out this link to a story about the #Perry4Gold Watch Party:

Update Aug. 3, 2016


Fairmont State University will host a community #Perry4Gold Team USA Rugby Sevens Watch Party from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, in the second floor Nickel area of the Falcon Center. Team USA plays Argentina in its first match.

Community, faculty and staff and are invited to watch the first U.S. Olympics Team USA Rugby Sevens match on the big screen in the Nickel to cheer on FSU alumnus and former Fighting Falcon football player Perry Baker.

Admission is free and open to the public. Those who attend will have an opportunity to sign a rugby ball that will be given to Baker after the Games. Free pizza, cookies and drinks will be available.

For more information about the event, call (304) 367-4135.

Update: July 21, 2016


Check out these stories about the video party:

Fairmont State University will host a community party from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 28, in the second floor Nickel area of the Falcon Center.

Refreshments will be served. Admission is free and open to the public. During this party, FSU will shoot video to create a good luck video for Perry Baker, FSU graduate and member of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Rugby Sevens Team. The video will be shared on FSU’s web site and social media.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members will be invited to offer their congratulations and well wishes for the video and to sign a rugby ball that will be sent to Baker.

For more information about the event, call (304) 367-4135.

Update: July 18, 2016

On Monday, July 18, Perry Baker was officially named to the U.S. Olympic Men's Rugby Sevens Team. Click here to visit the official web site. Click here to view Baker's Olympic team profile. Use the hashtag #perry4gold to congratulate the FSU alumnus on his achievement and to wish him luck.

Original Story: July 14, 2016

As the entire world prepares for more than 200 countries and 10,000 athletes to compete on its biggest stage during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from Aug. 5-21, the Fairmont State University community could very well have one of its own competing as a member of the USA Men’s Rugby Sevens Team.

Perry Baker, a former Fairmont State football standout and a 2013 graduate of the Criminal Justice program at FSU, is expected to be named to Team USA when the full Rugby Sevens Olympic team is announced on Monday, July 18, exclusively on

Baker, a wide receiver and playmaker for the Falcons from Daytona Beach, Fla., was a two-time All-West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference performer at receiver from 2006-2010, including a first team selection and Don Hansen Football Gazette All-Region second team pick as a sophomore. Baker also earned WVIAC honorable mention accolades as a senior and earned top senior honors in 2010 by being named the male recipient of the Jasper H. Colebank Memorial Award. The award is presented to the senior who has done the most to promote the best interest of athletics at Fairmont State.

For his Fighting Falcons career, Baker racked up 90 receptions for 1,552 yards and 19 touchdowns while wearing the maroon and white. Baker’s 19 touchdown receptions are currently tied for third in school history. Baker was also on the receiving end of the eighth-longest pass in school history when quarterback Vick Bradford connected with him on a 76-yard pass against West Virginia Wesleyan back on Oct. 25, 2008.

Earlier that season, Baker also tied a school record with five touchdowns in a game to lead the Falcons past nationally-ranked Shepherd in a wild 46-42 win over the Rams. In addition, Baker also rushed for the second-highest total in Duvall-Rosier Field history when he carried the ball 12 times for 244 yards against Seton Hill University on Nov. 1, 2008. That performance marked the only player in the country to rush for over 200 yards on less than 15 carries during the 2008 season.

Following his senior season at Fairmont State, Baker was selected to play in the East/West Shrine Game and Cactus Bowl, getting a chance to play in front of National Football League scouts. Baker was a 2011 NFL Draft prospect and was invited to training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles following the draft.

Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, Baker failed a physical when one of the team doctors discovered a torn meniscus that required surgery and recovery time prior to continuing his professional football career.

“After the injury was discovered, I returned to Dr. Chris Courtney for the surgery in Fairmont, where he explained my injury as a ‘hang nail tear,’” said Baker. “Following surgery it was recommended that I play in the Arena league to show off my skills and movements to NFL scouts.”

After spending two years in the Arena Football League as a member of the Pittsburgh Power, Baker returned to Ohio to run and learn the game of Rugby Sevens.

“After two years in the AFL, I began training in Ohio for my dream of being an Olympic athlete with Team USA Rugby,” Baker continued. “After spending a year with my Club team in Ohio training and learning the game and after playing in a tournament in Cancun, Mexico, during the summer of 2014, I was invited to the Olympic Training Center for a tryout and got offered a partial-contract to join the Residency Program two days later. From that point, it was one of those ‘the rest is history kind of deals,’ and I have been competing with the USA Rugby team since.”

Dr. Greg Noone, Director of the FSU National Security and Intelligence Program and Associate Professor of Political Science and Law, helped establish rugby as a Club Sport team at FSU through the Department of Intramurals. He and his wife, Dr. Diana Noone, Chair of Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at FSU, have stayed in touch with Baker throughout his rugby career.

“Perry has set the rugby world on fire! The international press has been buzzing about Perry for the last two years. He was the first American ever nominated as a finalist for the World Rugby Sevens Series Rookie of the Year following the 2014-2015 season. During the 2015-2016 season, Perry was selected to the World Rugby Sevens Series Dream Team consisting of the seven best players in the world,” Dr. Greg Noone said. “Perry has led the USA Eagles in scoring tries (rugby's version of a touchdown) and scored four in one match in a huge win against the mighty New Zealand All Blacks. I encourage each of you to Google ‘Perry Baker tries’ and watch any of the many exciting plays that have captivated rugby fans.”

Baker and his teammates are wrapping up the fourth and final week of Olympic Training Camp and are awaiting the final announcement of the 2016 Summer Olympic Team that will represent the University State of America in Rio on Aug. 9-11 during Rugby Sevens competition.