Ken Campbell will watch his final tip-off Friday night as coach of the Reagan County Owls.

Campbell notified his players Monday that he, after 25 years of coaching Owls’ basketball, will not return next season.

“It has been a great 25 years,” Campbell said Tuesday. “Reagan County has been a great place for me, my wife and family.”

Campbell, who led Reagan County to 18 playoff appearances, said he is thankful for the players, coaches and friends who have made his life in Big Lake a true blessing.

“I’ve had wonderful people working with me, and a lot of really good guys that have played for me over the years,” Campbell said. “Because they all bought into what we wanted to do, there has been a lot of success.”

Campbell, who has notched over 500 wins at Reagan County, doesn’t measure success in terms of wins and losses.

“Even on years like this one when the wins aren’t there,” Campbell said. “I can definitely see the growth in my guys from the beginning of the season to the end. Not just in their basketball, but in their behavior, attitude and effort.”

Campbell has spent a total of 35 years in coaching with stays in Grady, Lubbock Cooper, Brackett (HC) and Anton (HC) before landing in Big Lake.

Over his 30 years as a head coach he’s posted an overall record of 603-336.

“As a coach you never know what job is going to be the one that sticks,” Campbell said. “Every time we moved, we tried to become a part of the community. We did that here in Big Lake, and it ended up being the right fit for us.”

Campbell said the old saying ‘behind every good coach there is an even better wife' couldn’t be more true for him.

“I’ve got one,” Campbell said of his wife of 36 years. “That first year here in Big Lake Sharon started the Thursday School program at the church. She saw Big Lake as a place we could raise our family, and instantly became as involved as she could.”
Campbell said his 25 years of coaching Reagan County Basketball has been a terrific symptom of their love for this community.

“Ultimately, it is our love of our children and family that has us moving on,” Campbell said. “We want to be closer to our kids and be an active part of their lives.”

Ken and Sharon will be moving after the school year to Gatesville to spend more time with their son, Brit, and his family.

 

“When I came here I wanted to build a program,” Campbell said. “So whether I was here for one year, or 25, it would be something I was proud of.”

Campbell’s teams missed out on the playoffs his first three seasons at Reagan County. His efforts to build a program, combined with a rash of talented players, paid off in his fourth year starting a string of 11 playoff appearances in a row for the Owls.

In all, Reagan County has amassed 10 District Championships, five Bi-District Championships, seven Area Championships, two Regional Quarterfinal Championships, and made the Regional Finals twice under Coach Campbell’s direction.

Looking back on all that success, Campbell has a hard time putting a finger on which season was his most successful as a coach.

“The two years we made the Regional Finals were really good,” Campbell said. “The first year was the ‘02 team. We had lost, right before them, probably the most talented team I ever had. I was nine deep the year before with really good players, and to be real honest, was 11 deep with guys who could play very well.”

That ‘02 team and the ‘06 Regional Final team had something special about them that tied them together.

“Both of those teams just clicked,” Campbell said. “Every player understood their roles and accepted them. Frankee Avalos for example. Frankee was there to handle the ball, get assists and play defense. He didn’t care if he scored. Allan Harrison and Tony Avalos were there to score and get rebounds. They all knew their place, and that really elevated us.”

Another factor that made those teams successful was having multiple players on the team who had a point guard mentality.


“Another player on that team was Ross Parker,” Campbell said. “He played on the wing, but had that point guard mentality. I think a lot of the good teams we’ve had have had that dynamic. Having multiple guys who can handle the ball really alleviates the ball handling and leadership.”

Campbell said the ‘06 Owls had a lot of the same makeup.

“That team had my two sons, Brice and Brit, along with Angel Hernandez, Parker Russell, Jorge Campos and Will Holt,” Campbell said. “Angel was the big scorer, and Parker was going to score some from the outside. I had Brice and Jorge on the wing, again two guys with that point guard mentality. We had big Will Holt inside who was there for defense and rebounding.”

Campbell said that selfless mentality set that team over the top.

“They didn’t care if Angel scored 20 a game,” Campbell said. “They cared about doing their job and being successful.”

Campbell rounded out the discussion by pointing out it is nearly impossible to nail down one team that really sticks out above another.

“Honestly, it is seeing what those players did with their lives after leaving Reagan County,” Campbell said. “My first year Macy Thompson was a senior. I didn’t coach football, so I only had him for one season of basketball. He is a coach now, and is one of the guys who always looks me up. That kind of thing means the world to me.”

Ultimately for Campbell, it is the relationships he’s made while coaching that sticks out most about his career.

As for Campbell’s impact on Big Lake, it is impossible to calculate how many lives he has touched throughout his coaching career. The task becomes downright daunting when you add in the lives his wife has touched through her children’s ministry at First Baptist Church.

“It is overwhelming to stop and think about that,” Campbell said. “She gets them when they are three, and I get them when they are 15. I’ve been blessed to be in this position and do what I’ve been able to do, and the good Lord blessed me with a great wife.”

Campbell said, with their move to Gatesville, he hopes to finish out his coaching career as an assistant for his son, Brit, who is the Head Basketball Coach for the Gatesville Hornets.

“In the end, my most fulfilling years of coaching have been when I had my boys in the program,” Campbell said. “Brit was able to start his coaching career as an assistant here, and I would love nothing more than to end mine as his assistant.”

Big Lake and Reagan County are a better place because of Ken and Sharon Campbell. A family who will truly be missed.

The Big Lake Wildcat reached out to former players and coaches who view Ken Campbell as a friend, mentor and West Texas Legend:

Brit Campbell
Head Basketball Gatesville ISD
Reagan County: 2004-2008

“As my dad, he has always been and will forever be my role model. He is an amazing father, and has been there for me every step of the way.
As my coach, he is truly one of the greats. Playing for him has truly been a privilege and an honor. He pushes you to be your best in all areas, not just basketball. He was a person you wanted to make proud. He served not only as a coach, but as a father figure to numerous players over the years. As a player, I wanted to give everything I had for him, get my team to play as well as we could for him, and have as much success as we could for him.
As my mentor, he has been someone I can rely on. His wisdom, knowledge and experience are factors that I, as a younger coach, lean on to help me grow. I knew early on in my life that I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and become a coach just like him. I saw how he carried himself on and off the court, and how he did so much for his players, the community and his family. That is what I want to become. My journey from ball boy, to playing, to coaching alongside him was a dream come true.
Coach Campbell is a remarkable man that I look up to and strive to be like. It is hard to put into words how much my dad has done for me as a person, coach, father and believer in Christ.”

Frankee Avalos
Head Basketball Bartlett ISD
Reagan County: 2002
Asst. Coach at RC: 2009-2015

“As student athletes, coaches make up a big part of our careers. Not only do they teach us about sports, but life lessons like leadership, teamwork and accountability. These lessons stay with us for life. In my days at Reagan County ISD I was lucky to have many great coaches. When I got to college I realized how much of an impact they had on me. So Coach Campbell, I’d like to thank you now. Thank you for committing to us. Thank you for always being a text away. Thank you for modeling what a coach should be. Thank you for pushing me to be the best person I could be. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for your expectations, loyalty and love. A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life. Thank you for everything Coach Campbell.”

Clint Conkin  
A.D. Clarendon ISD
Anton: 1991-1995

“Coach Campbell was awesome as a coach. He is a lot of the reason I am in the coaching profession today. We enjoyed him as a coach, and had a lot of success because of him. He loved and cared about all of us, and probably does to this day. He is just that type of guy. He is a great man, they are a great family, and I am truly honored to have had him as a coach.”

Wendell Baucom
RCISD Teacher/Coach: 1992-Present
“I don’t think it would be too big a stretch to say that during the last 25 years there are few people that have had a greater impact on Reagan County Schools, the community of Big Lake and West Texas in general than that of Ken and Sharon Campbell.  What they mean to me and my family would fill volumes. For me personally Coach Campbell is one of my closest friends, we hit it off from the very start, have been inseparable during our time together and have a true and genuine connection. I can always count on him for timely advice, a necessary scolding, encouragement when needed the most, comfort during times of loss, a deep belly laugh (always). I am better because of our friendship and I love him very much.  Though I always thought we would ride off into the sunset together, I am extremely happy for him and the new adventure they will have together as they open this new chapter in their life story. If you know either one of us very well you will know that I am crying while I write this and he will probably cry when he reads it. Good tears. They will be missed dearly. OWLS ARE BETTER, If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”

Kyle Brown
RCMS Principal
Assistant Coach: 2001-2006

“When I think about Reagan County boys basketball, I think of Coach Ken Campbell.  Not only has he led the Owls to over 500 wins, more importantly he has had a positive impact on so many lives.  He truly loves the Blue and Gold and I will miss seeing that blue towel on the bench.”

Macy Thompson
Greenwood ISD
Reagan County - 1995

“When Coach Campbell came in to Big Lake I knew right away that he was something special. It has been proven that my thoughts were correct because he is still to this day special to me. He and his family treated us all as if we were his own kids. A great coach, man, and mentor for many of us that have followed in his footsteps. I still hear opponents talk about playing against him, and wanting to rip that towel out of his mouth. Coach Campbell has made his mark in the coaching profession.”