Harvard Ballers Baker, Healey Win Big in Mass. Polls

Published by Theresa C. Hebert on November 07, 2014 at 4:40PM
Charlie Baker Elected Massachusetts Governor

Charles D. Baker '79 celebrates after narrowly winning the Massachusetts gubernatorial election early Wednesday morning. The race fluctuated between the two candidates throughout the night, at one point with vote differences in the mere hundreds.

Though they are now focused on the political arena, Massachusetts’s Governor-elect Charlie Baker ’79 and Attorney General-elect Maura Healey ’92 have past experience in a different type of arena—the basketball arena. Both newly elected officials were former members of the Harvard basketball program during their time in Cambridge.

Massachusetts’s voters are optimistic that Baker will have more success in his role as Governor than he did as a basketball player for the Crimson. Baker was a member of the junior varsity teams his freshman and sophomore seasons at Harvard, before finally making it to the varsity squad during his junior year. Over the course of eight games, Baker scored 13 points and had eight rebounds and an assist during a low period for the Crimson men’s team.

Before his senior season, the Ivy League implemented an overdue rule change that allowed freshmen to play on the varsity team.  With the addition of these new players, Baker was no longer an asset to the team. Instead of flat-out cutting him from the squad, Harvard coach Frank McLaughlin recommended Baker for an assistant coaching position on the junior varsity team. Baker took the position and ended his formal playing career.

Healey, on the other hand, excelled as a member of the women’s team. The 5’4’’ guard was a co-captain her senior year, and took charge of the court despite being one of the shortest players on the team. Under the charge of current head coach Kathy Delany Smith, Healey helped lead the Crimson to an Ivy League Championship in 1991.

In Healey’s senior season, Harvard had a rough start but won nine of its last 10 games to post a 14-12 record. Healey finished the year averaging 5.7 assists per game, then the second-best single-season rate in Crimson history.

Following graduation, Healey pursued a professional basketball career in Austria for UBBC Wustenrot Salzburg. After overcoming rule changes and language barriers, Healey claimed a spot on the starting rotation at point guard for two seasons, before returning to Massachusetts to attend law school at Northeastern University.