By RICH STEVENS
DAILY MAIL ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Chad Campbell has spent the last nine seasons building the George Washington High School baseball team into a program of respectability.
Now, he wants to spend time watching the skills of his two young sons develop.
Campbell resigned as coach of the Patriots after compiling a record of 162-131 for the Patriots and leading them to the 2008 state tournament, just three years after GW won one game. The Patriots won at least 20 games four times during Campbell’s tenure.
“I’m having to juggle my time and it’s hard to do,” said Campbell, whose Patriots were just eliminated from the postseason in a 1-0 loss to Riverside in the Class AAA Region 3 semifinals. “It’s hard to focus 100 percent of my energy to GW baseball. When I took this job, it was a job, turning the program around and I had to focus 100 percent of my time and energy to get this thing back on its legs. Now, the energy level isn’t there. I want to spend time with my family, but we’re definitely not leaving the cupboard bare.”
Campbell has two sons — Will, 10, and Chance, 4. Will “is doing a lot of things,” including playing Little League and Chance just completed his first season of tee ball. Even last season Campbell often had to rush from the field at the conclusion of GW games to see Will play.
Campbell took over at GW in 2006, one year after the Patriots finished 1-23. In his first season, GW was 11-13 and, in his second year, the Patriots won 27 games and reached the state tournament semifinals where they dropped an 8-7 decision to Fairmont Senior in eight innings.
Despite the tournament loss, the Patriots remained competitive and, Campbell said, gained respect among the team’s peers.
“I think we’re a respected program,” said Campbell, a 1998 graduate of South Charleston High School. “The things we’ve done, the players who have come back enjoy being around the program. The most important thing is how we influenced those kids. It’s been very rewarding.
“It’s a baseball program up there and not just a team. It’s been a lot of hard work but has been worth it.”
It had especially been hard on Campbell who, at 24 years old in 2006 when he served as an assistant coach at GW under Glenn Wilson, was undergoing treatment for a rare kind of leukemia.
He underwent a successful bone marrow transplant from his brother and has been in remission since. He concentrated on making the GW baseball program a success and accomplished the feat.
Floyd B. Wilcox Field, on GW’s campus, has a 10-inning scoreboard and Campbell played a significant role in having a 30-foot fence erected in left field to try to take away what many considered cheap home runs.
The next step in Campbell’s career — he’s also a teacher at George Washington High School — is to join the staff at South Charleston High School and help his father in law, SC head coach Ken Samms, with his program.
The competitiveness between the two guiding one of the Kanawha Valley’s biggest rivalries has been stressful, Campbell admitted.
“We joke all the time about the sectional and that we’re related, but it’s stressful,” Campbell said. “It’s a very stressful time at our houses. We’re both so competitive. I’m excited to help him at my alma mater.”
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail