Hal Baird was a standout in baseball for 15 years as a player, assistant coach and head coach. A 1971 ECU graduate, Baird helped the Pirates to a Southern Conference title and a NCAA Tournament appearance in 1970. In the league championship game against George Washington, Baird struck out a Southern Conference record 20 batters. His 105 strikeouts in 1971 ranks among the top performances in school history.
Following his college career, Baird played for the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals organizations where he earned All-Gulf Coast League, All-Florida Instructional League and All-Southern League honors. He went on to serve as an assistant coach at ECU from 1977-79 before being named head coach in 1979. Over the next five years, Baird led the Pirates to a pair of ECAC-South championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances. He finished his coaching career at East Carolina with a record of 145-66-1.
In 1985 Baird was named head coach at Auburn University, where he led the Tigers to a College World Series berth in 1993 and again in 1997. Baird remained at Auburn until 2000 when he retired as the school's winningest head coach.