Inside Scoop: Michael Bakker


Bree Soule, Online Editor in Chief

Growing up in Rochester, MI, Michael Bakker was a very athletic child. He played, or as he put it, “played or attempted to play” sports all the way from basketball, soccer, football and baseball to golf, tennis, swimming and track. 

Even though he lived 40 minutes away from his current residence in Fenton, he visited Fenton a lot as a kid as his parents owned a place on Tipsico Lake.

“To an elementary and middle school kid, it seemed like ‘Up North’ from Rochester,” Bakker said.

Bakker was a part of Rochester High’s Class of 1994. After graduation, he enrolled at Michigan State University (MSU), at which he played Rugby for two years before trying out to be Sparty— the university’s mascot. 

“Finding out that I was selected to be Sparty after a pretty intense tryout was absolutely amazing,” Bakker said. “I would equate it to going through a big tryout for a team or even job interview and being chosen for the position. I absolutely loved my time as a student at MSU and to be able to represent MSU as the most prominent symbol that upholds the values of MSU was a tremendous honor for me. I knew every time I was in the suit, eyes were on me and that was a huge responsibility. I was able to participate in huge games, many parades, charity events, and University functions. I took that position very seriously and enjoyed every minute of it.”

After his college days were over, Bakker ended up with a Bachelor of Science degree in Math, a Minor in Environmental Science and a Secondary Teacher Certificate. He went on spending five years teaching and coaching tennis and boys and girls swim at Mason High prior to coming to Fenton in 2004, where he now works as Fenton High’s Athletic Director/Assistant Principal. Not long before coming to Fenton, Bakker got married to his now wife, Denise Bakker, and they have been married for 18 years with three kids— all of whom attend FHS. 

“I really enjoy watching our students grow over their four years at FHS and even the years they spend at Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School (AGS),” Bakker said. “I love watching our kids put in the hard work each day that others don’t see and then having success when they play in front of family, friends and community on game days. I also take a lot of pride in helping coaches and fellow athletic directors make lifelong memories through sport. I enjoy talking with students and student athletes about their passions, goals and where they hope life is going to take them after they graduate.”

Since he began his career, he has added to the list of accomplishments he’s proud of: his ability to “impact the lives of many coaches, students and athletes in a positive way;” his work done with the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), who elected him to the Executive Board to serve as their President in 2015-2016 and selected him as a Regional AD of the Year in 2010 and Athletic Director of Year for the 2020-2021 school year; and his opportunity to serve the students and community of Fenton Schools for this being his “17th year in this capacity as Athletic Director and Assistant Principal.”

While he has had numerous career accomplishments, one of his most proud is accomplishments has nothing to do with his job. His family.

“‘Personally, I am really proud of the fact that I have an awesome family at home who most of the time enjoys being together playing cards, traveling and just being together,” Bakker said. “Our family enjoys spending that time with family in Northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota when we can.”

Now, Bakker enjoys vacationing with family, running, reading, water skiing, camping, canoeing and hiking. He looks at any setback as an opportunity.

We all experience disappointment and challenges in life, whether it be personally or professionally, but I look at those as opportunities to get better and learn who I am, what I stand for and where I want to go in life. Everything I have done from high school, to college, to being a summer camp counselor, to teaching, coaching, to being an administrator, a father and a husband has shaped where I am today.”