One of the biggest things that attracted Chase Campbell to Benjamin Russell was its tradition.
“One thing that’s really appealing is the tradition and not just in football but the school as a whole,” Campbell said. “I’m glad to be a part of that.”
Earlier this week, Campbell was officially hired as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the Wildcat football team. Despite it being his first official coaching job, Campbell brings a lot of experience and it didn’t take long for BRHS coach Kevin Smith to know he had found the right person for the job.
“It’s kind of funny because I just had an off day and I got a call from this Alex City number, and it ended up being coach Smith,” Campbell said. “We talked for about 20 or 30 minutes and shortly after the conversation was over, he said he was going to recommend me to be hired as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Coach Smith and I had never talked before, but I’m glad I met him. I love him and the staff.”
Smith said it was just word of mouth that brought Campbell to his attention.
“After 20 years I have a pretty good network of people, and a couple different people had mentioned his name,” Smith said. “He’s a young guy who knows the game and he’s very committed. He’s very articulate and he’s a great teacher; I could tell that right off the bat.”
A 2013 graduate of Oneonta, Campbell continued to be a volunteer coach there while he attended junior college. He helped under coach Don Jacobs and Phil Phillips, to whom Campbell said he “owes everything.”
After graduating from junior college, Campbell attended Troy University and helped on both defense and offense as a student coach.
Although he’s been at Benjamin Russell for officially only one week now, Campbell has already been welcomed by the coaching staff and players alike.
“After working with the kids these past couple days, I see what it’s all about,” Campbell said. “They’re very welcoming and they were excited to see me. I wasn’t shocked by it though; I expected that because of what kind of school Benjamin Russell is. There’s a strong tradition there and they have pride in where they go to school.”
Campbell, who was a left guard and defensive tackle while at Oneonta, knows the importance of a strong front game. His No. 1 priority as offensive line coach will be to teach the players how key their roles are. Benjamin Russell averaged 16 points per game last season and Campbell’s goal is to well exceed that.
“Being the offensive line, they have to be the strongest unit on the field,” he said. “The game of football starts up front in the trenches, and I want to instill that mentality to the player. That’s the first thing I want to do. I want to help these kids grow and fight as well; that’s really all I can ask for right now. We’re going to work hard.”
As he also enters as the offensive coordinator, Campbell still has to settle into Benjamin Russell’s offense. But luckily, the Wildcats run a similar style to the Troy Trojans, so although some of the verbiage is different, the X’s and O’s remain the same.
While Campbell was hired as a coach and an elementary physical education teacher at Radney, he wants to be more than just a coach to his players.
“This is one thing I’ve told them every single day: I love them and I appreciate them,” Campbell said. “Anything they need me to do, I’m going to be there for them. I want my players to feel like they’re part of a family.
“Some kids may not go home to the best home life and they can escape that through football. There are a lot of kids who do have a great home life, but I want to be there for the kids that don’t go home to that and need me in their life.”