Today, our Four Questions feature is answered by retired coach Larry Campbell of Lincoln County, who retired after the 2013 season with 477 wins, the most in state history, and 11 state championships. He remains involved in high school football and was the GHSA’s game administrator for the Prince Avenue Christian-Fellowship Christian semifinal on Friday. He’ll be in the Georgia Dome on Friday and Saturday as a fan.
1. What is the most memorable game you’ve been a part of as a player or coach?“I guess when we played Washington-Wilkes, which is our biggest rival, for the state championship here in Lincolnton [in 2005]. That’s because it was such an intense rivalry. Everybody felt like they were going to beat us the second time around because the first one was so close.” [Campbell was 29-14 against Washington-Wilkes. The two high schools, originally Lincolnton and Washington, have met in football most years since 1922. Lincoln County won 20-13 in the regular season in 2005, then 25-0 for the Class A championship.]
2. Which high school coach would you want your son to play for, and why?“There were a number of them without a shadow of doubt, but in the coaching world, Dan Pitts hits up there real high for everybody. I spent some time at some of his practices and picked up things from him. I had a great respect for how he ran his program back in the day. He was such a low-key person until you’ve seen him on the practice field. He’s not exactly low-key in practice. His discipline that he instilled on a team was probably second to none.” [Pitts, coincidentally, is a Lincolnton native. He retired from Mary Persons after the 1997 season with a state-record 346 wins. It was Pitts’ record that Campbell broke in 2002 and has held since.]
3. What is your favorite saying/motto as a coach?“‘Faith, Family and Football.’ When you get to my age, you realize just how important those things are, in that order. It’s hard to do all those things when you’re trying to win state championships, but you’ve got to put your faith No. 1, family second and, while I was coaching, football fell in there third. We’ve put that on t-shirts over the years. We’ve probably sold more with ‘Faith, Family and Football’ than any of the others put together.”
4. Which GHSA policy or high school football rule would you most like to see changed?“I was much in favor of the dead period in the week of July so that nobody could practice and you gave kids and coaches a chance to relax. I now would love to see two of those weeks – one in June and one in July. It gives a kid the chance to go on family vacation and not have to see a football coach nearly every day of his life. Football has gotten to the point where it seems you never can rest. You feel like you should be going to the office and breaking down one more film. We work kids a little too much. There’s more to life than football. I believe a majority of coaches would be in favor of that. It would be doing something to help kids and families.”
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