MOULTRIE – Shawn Campbell knows a little something about getting football players prepared for the professional level … the championship level that is.
A high school head football coach in both Georgia and Florida, Campbell jumped at the chance to join Justin Rogers’ new staff at Colquitt County High. Rogers pegged him for the role of defensive coordinator, and Campbell has the passion – and the volume – to get his point across.
Beginning in 1993, Campbell spent 10 years coaching in Florida. For three years, he was the head coach at Palm Beach Lakes High in south Florida. In 2003, Campbell began a little tour of the state with six years at Cass High School near Cartersville. He was head coach at – of all places – Campbell High School in Smyrna for a season. Campbell jumped down to south Georgia working at Ware County High for five years, then back towards the north to coach at Carrollton High for two seasons. For the past two seasons he was a coordinator at Newnan High.
This is the first time he’s worked for Rogers, the former Jones County High head coach and Griffin High offensive coordinator. Campbell said it’s a case where they met through the coaching rounds, hung out a few times and got to know each other.
“I’ve kind of made my rounds in Georgia,” said Campbell. “But to me Moultrie’s a special place. I always thought it was the best job in the state. I’m excited and glad for this wonderful opportunity.”
Campbell is one of a few assistants for Rogers who bring head coaching experience to the Packer program, Troy Hobbs and Mo Dixon being others.
“There are a lot of things you deal with that are not football related on a daily basis,” said Campbell about what he got out of being a head coach. “Football’s the smallest part of your life as a head coach. I enjoyed taking a step back and being a coordinator and not have to deal with those stresses.”
To talk about places rich in high school football talent, Campbell’s been to two of the best. In Florida, he said the players are athletic, but the sport itself is not as well organized nor is it as important in a community as it is in Georgia.
“It teaches a lot about life,” said Campbell about football and his role as a coach. “There are more life lessons in football than anything else, to me. You teach young men to be young men … high-character young men through football.”
One of his former players in Florida – Boynton Beach to be exact – is former Miami Hurricane and New England Patriot nose tackle Vince Wilfork.
“Vince was a great person,” said Campbell. “I enjoyed working with him. He’s got (two Super Bowl) rings, and he was a first-round draft pick out of Miami. Above all that, he was always a great character kid. That’s what I respected about him.”
Rogers is bringing the up tempo offense Colquitt County fans are used to seeing, and with Campbell he plans to keep up the defensive pace with speed and playmakers. He said it’s a 3-4 coverage base and they will be multiple from that.
“Play fast. Don’t think,” said Campbell. “Read your keys and enjoy football. Have fun and hit somebody. I’m a really passionate person about football and about life. I think you need to bring a passion, particularly for the defensive side of the ball to be physical. I love the game and I love the kids.”
There’s a lot of playing experience back for Campbell to set his foundation even with the losses at cornerback, safety, inside linebacker and the defensive front. He said these Packers are physical players with great team speed and a high football IQ.
“It’s awesome,” said Campbell about having Rogers as a boss. “He’s a great detail-oriented person like me. It’s been a joy. Very honored to have this wonderful opportunity. Very flattered.”
And Campbell knows, unlike anywhere else he’s coached in Georgia, there’s an expectation level and a history of recent success that’s put Colquitt County High on the national radar.
“That’s why I came here, because it is that,” said Campbell about the high expectations and the challenge to maintain that level of excellent play. “It’s making sure we go every day to get better step by step and not overlook what we’re trying to get done.”