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B.C.'s back: Campbell will return as FSHS football coach after 4 years away

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

(Photo)
Bob Campbell addresses the Fort Scott High School football team after a practice before the start of the 2005 season. Campbell will return as head coach of the Tigers next season while also continuing his work as a partner at BSD Financial.
(Tribune file photo)
Word had swirled around since mid-December but Monday night, the USD 234 School Board made the return of Bob Campbell as Fort Scott High School's football coach official.

However, Campbell won't be giving up his day job. He'll continue his work as a partner for BSD Financial, where he went to work after leaving FSHS after the 2005-06 school year.

"I feel fortunate in that I have two jobs I really enjoy," Campbell said in an interview Wednesday evening. "I'll get the opportunity to do both of them."

The Kansas State High School Activities Association allows coaches who are not employees of a school district to be a coach under what's known as "Rule 10." This is what allows Campbell to continue working at BSD Financial. He will also oversee the summer weight program.

"I believe (both jobs) can be done," Campbell said. "But there is some unknown because I've not done it this way.

"I'm very excited about the opportunity. It's only possible because the three guys I'm partners with -- Jordan Witt, Larry Davenport and Jim Sather -- are all understanding and are giving me the opportunity to do two jobs that I really enjoy. I like my current job. I like our business. I like our future. But I'm also excited about the chance to be coaching again."

Campbell, a Uniontown High School graduate, was Fort Scott High's head football and boys' track coach from 1992 to 2005. No other head football coach was at FSHS longer than nine seasons.

While Campbell was head coach, the Tigers won 124 games, six Southeast Kansas League championship and two Class 4A State championships. Fort Scott also appeared in four other State championship games.

After the 2005-06 school year, Campbell took the position at BSD and former assistant Don Epps took over. Epps' first two seasons saw the Tigers win 16 of 21 games. But over the last two seasons, Fort Scott won only four times and Epps stepped down as coach after the Tigers went 1-8 last season. Epps will continue to teach at FSHS and coach boys' track.

Some fans hope Campbell can lead the Tigers back to their winning ways. At the same time, it's been four seasons since he's coached any level of football. Next year's seniors were in seventh grade the last time he coached a game.

"It doesn't seem like it's been that long but it's been almost four years," Campbell said. "And in four years, things change. But there are things about coaching that don't change, in my opinion. I'm going to do it that way I feel it should be done. We're going to work extremely hard. We're going to have high expectations and demand a lot from the kids.

"I think the notion that you just step back in and things are as they were, it'll require a lot of hard work and I'm looking forward to that challenge."

When Campbell coached the first time, his primary job was to teach with football as the "other" job. So in that sense, the situation he will put himself into is familiar.

"One of the benefits of my current job is that I'm able to set my own schedule somewhat," Campbell says. "Not all the time, but a lot of the time. I have some flexibility on my hours at work. And that's one of the things that allows me to be able to do this.

"To do either job requires a lot of time. To do both of them, I'll have to make sure I'm organized. It will require probably some long hours but when I was teaching and coaching, it required a lot of long hours. It's kind of the nature of the business."

Another part of the business of coaching is teaching kids how to be better people as well as better athletes.

"One of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about coaching was being able to work with young men and have an opportunity to impact them, " Campbell said, "not just on the field but off the field. The excitement of getting back into coaching and the atmosphere on Friday nights, I'm sure will be emotional.

"The game changes. There's trends on offense and defense. But there's some things that have always been constant in the game. You have to block. You have to tackle. You have to play hard. You have to run to the football. And those are all things that, regardless of when you're coaching or where you're coaching, those things will always hold true."

Campbell says he has enjoyed support from the community as well as his employers as he made the decision to return to coaching.

"Another positive factor, I feel, is the continuity of the staff," Campbell said. "A lot of the guys on the staff either played football for me or we coached together. I'm excited to get an opportunity to work with those guys again.

"And I've really appreciated the number of people who have been thoughtful and supportive of me and my family. Those people have been very supportive of the program. And I'd be remiss if I didn't say that the school gave me the opportunity to do this and I'm looking forward to it. And the guys I work with are giving me the opportunity to do this. So it's only because a lot of people have been very supportive of my decision that I'm able to take this on."

Campbell said he wasn't exactly sure how he would feel once he gets back into the coaching routine.

"What will it be like? I don't know," Campbell said. "I can probably answer that question better after the first practice, after the first game."


Comments
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his credentials speak for themselves.....what is the salary?.......just curious

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 8:19 AM

I believe, after taking his salary and dividing it by the hours dedicated to the program, it's less than minimum wage.

-- Posted by FSCitizen on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 12:16 PM

....curious taxpayers want to know.......

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 1:54 PM

brandonx1, you speak without knowing. This man was, and will certainly continue to be one of the best coaches in the state. It may take a season or two for him to get everything back on track, but he will most definitely get it done. The young men who are about to play under him have no idea what a blessing this is for them both as players and as young men.

-- Posted by TigerGrad on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 3:32 PM

TigerGrad, what is that supposed to mean. A blessing? What are they going to learn, how to jump ship when the going gets a little tough and the talent starts to slip and then to jump back on board when the talent starts to re-gain footing?

-- Posted by smead on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 3:50 PM

Look at the '06 and '07 seasons, there was still talent there, he wasn't jumping ship.

-- Posted by TigerGrad on Thu, Jan 7, 2010, at 8:18 PM

BC knows how to utilize whatever talent he has. That's part of the challenge. He also knows how to get the best from his players. Those young men will learn priceless lessons about teamwork and accountability. Thanks for coming back BC!

-- Posted by onceatiger on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 8:07 AM

I am so excited to hear he is coming back! As a former student of his and watching and seeing him in action on the field, I have nothing but Kudos for him! He's not only an amazing coach but an amazing teacher as well. Too bad we can't get him back in the classroom again! FSHS is in much need of a good math teacher!

Welcome back BC! and for all of you out there doubting him and saying "he walked out", get ahold of yourself. He did what was financially best for himself and his FAMILY! Needless to say, his love for football, but family should always come first. Also, I think its very rude and quite a put down to say he left because "lack of talent". There is always talent there! Coaches are a vital key to sports, they bring out the best and unfortunately the worst in players....ponder on that! AND! I hope none of these boys are reading this and see that comment, since your basically saying they all cannot play. pathetic! you are probably one of those who sit the bench, because you yourself, HAD NO TALENT!

In conclusion, FSHS..SMART SMART SMART SMART move to bring BC back! BC...good luck! It will be great to see a familiar face out there on the sidelines! Your an amazing coach, teacher, and person. We are behind you 110%...and just think what all of SEK is thinking...ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh nooooooo!!!!!!!!!...

P.S. WATCH OUT PURPLE DRAGONS!! WE'RE COMING FOR U :) hehehehehehehehe

-- Posted by L30w22k14 on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 8:35 AM

Yes Finally Coach Campbell is coming back! Now The Tigers will be feared again and become a respectable football team again!

-- Posted by KansasFirefighter on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 10:45 AM

I never said that there was "no" talent. You are right, about there is always some talent. It just seems to me that everyone is acting like Coach Epps brought the team down. I know he worked hard to try to get programs from the school to help kids in all sports to gain strength and even more talent.

I DO apologize to the players if they think that I was putting them down. I never meant that.

I finally have spoke my opinion on all of the comments over the last couple of years, intentional or not, putting Coach Epps and his abilities down. For that I DO NOT apologize.

-- Posted by smead on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 12:12 PM

Smead. Epps is a nice guy and did his best, but the one thing that he couldn't do is get the kids to buy into him. There is always the same pool to pull kids from, and he couldn't get the kids to go out, buy in , and work hard. BC took a bunch of kids that only won 4 games as Freshmen that were predicted to win 4-5 games as seniors and took them to the 5A State Championship game in 1999.

-- Posted by Tiger00 on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 2:02 PM

It just breaks my heart to read all of the comments regarding someone that put his heart and soul into something he believed in, spending nights and days, weekends and summers trying to make a program that would make the community proud, but most of all give the players something to be proud of.

I hope Epps does not lose his spirit and drive!

That is all I have to say about this and I do wish good luck to Coach Campbell.

-- Posted by smead on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 2:21 PM

I completely agree that Epps did his best and worked very hard at keeping the tradion of good football going in Fort Scott. He's a good guy, and he had a good staff. Things just never seemed to come together. There have been many instances in all levels of football where a good football mind with good intentions doesn't translate into a good head coach. IE Gunther Cunningham, Todd Haley, Charlie Weis, etc.

Geting beat by 30-40-50 points to teams in the SEK is embarrassing and deserves to get you fired.

-- Posted by Tiger00 on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 2:39 PM

Great Coach! Great person!

-- Posted by panda pandana on Fri, Jan 8, 2010, at 8:40 PM

Can Bob's expertise overcome an inexperienced coaching staff that probably should be honing their skills at the middle school level before coaching at the HS level?...............this cronyism is going to hurt the kids.........go out and get some experienced (i.e. non-FS grads) coaches............btw Epps is a class act and I hope he will move to a program that can appreciate him

-- Posted by brandonx1 on Mon, Jan 11, 2010, at 8:50 AM

I agree! There definately should be more focus as well on the middle school athletics. I have always felt this way. I also think that like most schools, in a real world, there should be the basic intramurals, for the kids that enjoy the sport, want to play, but aren't into competing etc. Then there should be try outs for a main team that competes. travels, does tourny's.

It's very hard going from middle school sports atmosphere, where everyone plays, and the sport is taken lightly, then jumping into conditioning, 2-a-days, night and morning practices, weekend games and practice. Not just the whole mind aspect, but the physical extertion on the body. No I dont think middle schoolers should be pumping iron 12 times a day and slamming sport mixed drinks . but weightlifting is a big part of athletics, whether it be football or girls cheerleading! Fort Scott needs to incorporate lifting into their sport excercises beginning in MIDDLE SCHOOL. No, we aren't talking powerlifting competitions! I mean a basic lift and work out. This helps with strength in muscles you dont use at all or as much while playing the sport! It also gives speed, flexibility, agility, and so on. This could make such a difference beginning at the middle school level, lifting, more advanced sports/coaches, and the whole mind set of teamwork, togetherness, and discipline! Not to mention throwing an 8th grader right into summer conditioning, lifting, and extension practices, NOT good on a childs body, also making them more prone to injury!

I am not putting Epp's down in any way, it happens to many out there. He gave it a shot, put out his best, but he just wasn't the man for the job. I believe BC is, he has proven himself in multiple ways...and i think the majority of FS welcomes him with open arms!!

As for the upcoming players, put your game face on! It's going to be quite the workout, but in the end, when your standing there proud of your accomplishments, holding a trophy, and knowing you were part of a TEAM...you'll understand what all those hardships were for!

Good luck tigers & BC

-- Posted by L30w22k14 on Wed, Jan 13, 2010, at 9:06 AM

brandonx1, I'm not saying your wrong, but which coaches do you not think are experienced enough? I'm just curious.

-- Posted by TigerGrad on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:35 AM

Oh yes... Lets bring the great Coach Campbell back so you can all idolize him when we have two more bad seasons. If you really think that Campbell will be able to take non existent talent and turn them in to state champions, you really need to either drop the hero worship or think about how much you know about coaching.

Jim Caldwell could not have done a better job with those boys than Coach Epps did. A coach is very similar to a craftsman. No matter how hard he works, now many sleepless nights he is working on it, or how much he prays, the final product is only as good as the materials he had to work with. You wont expect a boat built from rotten plywood to make it down the Mississippi would you?

Now am I saying all the players were bad? Of course not. There were a couple boys with true talent, and they were the ones that made up the entire team it seemed to me. And I am not necessary saying the other young men were horrible either. It just seemed like their heart wasn't in it.

But no body, not the father pushing his son to play though the kid would rather play golf, not the star of the team, not all the loyal fans combined put nearly as much heart in to this game, this team, as Coach Epps. He done his best, and you are all content to knock him down like he never even showed up to practice. Not a one of you judging him know how much he put in to that team.

I have never known a Coach to love his team or the game more than Coach Epps does.

So I say; Welcome back, Mr. Campbell, you have big shoes to to fill.

-- Posted by Azeara on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 3:32 PM

I apologize for the multiple comments. I did not meant to.

-- Posted by Azeara on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 3:36 PM
Response by Scott Nuzum:
Don't worry. It's taken care of.

So, what options are there for assistant coaches. It is my understanding in talking to "those in the know," that there is no one on the teaching staff willing, able, or qualified to coach. Those on the football staff are those gentlemen from around town who are willing to coach for the salaries the school district pays.

-- Posted by fattiger on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 5:05 PM

Azeara, it's simple as this: BC knows how to take limited talent and get the most of it. I have no doubt that Epps put a lot of effort into the team, but BC is one of the best at getting the most out of the least. That is why his teams were so great even though they didn't always have the most talent. I played for both men and I think this is the best possible outcome for the community, the school, but especially for the players.

-- Posted by TigerGrad on Sat, Jan 16, 2010, at 11:51 PM

Azeara - I can tell from you comment that you really weren't a fan of Fort Scott football prior to Epps. It really seems like you might be coach Epps' mother.

You are completely misunderstanding the people of Fort Scott's feelings toward BC. If you were from Fort Scott or a long time fan of Fort Scott football, then you would know that nobody is worshipping/idolizing Coach Campbell, we merely respect him. Respect and accountability toward the coach, program, and school are the things that have been lacking and have led to the situation that the team has found themselves in.

As I've said I agree with your statement, "He done his best," but it's a fact of life that sometimes someone's best should still get them fired.

I think the entire comunity is excited to get back to our winning ways. We aren't asking for BC to get us to the State Championship. We are asking for respectability and not getting thrashed by 50 pts.

-- Posted by Tiger00 on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 2:30 PM


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