Coach John Campo- Beyond the story
Sometimes when you interview someone for a story they give you so much incredible content that it is just impossible to use it all.
When a reporter is lucky enough to interview a legendary head coach such as Gettysburg College head baseball coach John Campo, you get a LOT of great content. Rather than let it all go to waste, I decided to right some of the memorable comments in this blog post. So here it goes:
On the biggest changes he has seen in the game of baseball since he started coaching: "The biggest rule change has been the DH and the biggest change in the college game was going back to the way the game originally was, which meant more defensive. (NCAA) has really deadened the bats by putting performance standards on it. We have gone through periods in baseball where the aluminum bats were very lively and you had a lot of offense. Well they deadened those to where now they are trying to get a little more offense back and are making changes to the ball. They are going to be putting a lower seam to give the ball more carry. It is more of a pitching/defense game right now so I have seen that go back and forth.
In terms of coaching, the biggest thing I see is that kids are starting so much earlier in the college recruiting process and they are focusing so much more on one sport a lot earlier. I do not think that is a good thing very honestly. I have always been a big believer in the multi-sport athlete at high school. It really has changed the whole recruiting and college selection process. I am getting contacted by kids who are sophomores and I don't think that's a good thing. I think the proper time is when kids are done their junior year."
On what impact lowering the seam on the balls will have: "The change will not change the bat exit speed which will not cause it to effect safety of the players. All it will do is a well hit ball will travel further. It will reduce the drag effect. You won't see the balls coming off the bat with more velocity, they will just have more carry."
On what rule he would change: "The thing I would like to see is the re-entry rule like you have at the high school and legion level. We used to have it in the NCAA rule book as an optional rule but eliminated that several years ago. As a college coach, I like it. It was a way to get more kids involved in the game itself. Even if it was a pinch hitter and you can re-enter a kid or bring someone in to run for a kid. I know traditionalists argued against me and said it's not real baseball and my retort to that was, 'Well than let's go back to not having DH and using wood bats in college.'"
On why he has stayed at Gettysburg: "Aside from quality of life and family life (talked about in the article), from a coaching standpoint, I always felt that coaching was coaching. It really doesn't matter whether you are Division 1, 2, or 3, how many people are in the stands and whether you are on television or not. When you are a coach or a teacher, it really makes no difference. Whether you are a high school or college coach, coaching is coaching. It is just when you are at the high level you are dealing with more skilled athletes, but the actual coaching of the game itself, there is really no difference. I get as much enjoyment and rewards coaching at this level than any other level."
On one game that stands out: "We have had so many big wins over the years. I would have to say my first year as a head coach. That conference championship game in the old Mid Atlantic Conference. That stands out to me. It was my first year as a head coach and we made it to the conference title game and won the game.
In terms of losses, we have had a lot of tough ones over the years. I would say one day in particular was last year when we lost two heart-breaking games that knocked us out of the conference tournament. We lost in extra innings to Franklin and Marshall and came back and lost on a walk-off homer to Johns Hopkins. That was a very heart breaking day for me and my team so that one kind of stands out."
On the impact he has had on young men's lives: "That is one of the rewards in coaching or teaching when your former players or coaches come back and stay in touch with you and you can see how they have progressed. You can see how they grew into being good family men, good fathers and good leaders. I always tell them enjoy being dads right now because it goes very quickly."
On why he loves baseball: "I just like the competitiveness of athletics. I like the ambiance of baseball. I like the approach. It is different then football where its gross motor skills sport where baseball is a fine motor skills sport. Baseball is focus for a short period of time and let it go. Football you have that constant building up of one game on the weekend and then you have to start all over. Baseball you have that constant level of consistency of playing. I like the fact that we will play four or five games a week as opposed to one. If you have a tough day you have to shake it off because you might have a double header or a game the next day. Coaching is coaching, I don't care what sport it is . The difference with baseball is the ability to have to maintain that consistent level every day and over time."