Entering his 30th season with the team and the longest tenured coach at the University of Oregon is Running Backs Coach, Gary Campbell.
His résumé is one of the greatest nationwide, if not the best. Of Oregon’s 14 1,000-yard rushers, Campbell has coached 12 of them; most noticeably LaMichael James (who became the first player in conference history to rush for 1,500 yards in three separate seasons) who rushed for 5,082 yards and 53 touchdowns during his career at Oregon en route to the NFL.
Campbell has had two running backs rush for 1,000 yards in the same season twice in his tenure, most recently in 2008 with Jeremiah Johnson rushing for 1,201 yards and LeGarrette Blount totaling 1,002 yards.
Since 1997 Oregon has had a running back rush for over 100 yards in a game 104 times — an amazing 51 times over the past five seasons.
Not only is Campbell an amazing on the field coach, he is most beloved for what he has done off the field. When you talk to any of his former players, they all refer to him as a father figure: helping the maturation of all his players from boys to men.
This year, Campbell looks to mentor Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner and take De’Anthony Thomas (with a career 3,992 total yards and 36 touchdowns) to the next level as he prepares for the NFL.
Oregon has had many great coaches come through the football program — Mike Bellotti, Len Casanova, Rich Brooks, Chip Kelly, etc. — but none have had such a profound effect on the players than Campbell (both on and off the field).
To get to know Gary Campbell better as a father and where how all the players consider him a father figure, read further in ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski’s article on Campbell and his son here.