Interview With Former MIAA-A Coach and New UC Lacrosse Coach – Pete Campbell

The UC Patriots will begin play in 2016 in the NAIA (photo / UC)

Williamsburg, KYPete Campbell, a former member of Severn, Maryland’s Archbishop Spalding’s lacrosse staff has moved up to the college level to become the first head coach at the University of the Cumberlands (formerly Cumberland College). The Patriots are members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) which is hosting its first lacrosse showcase in late July in Kansas City. Prior to his coaching career, Campbell was a standout goalie for Ohio’s Marrietta College.

Campbell has been actively recruiting in Maryland and has signed Henry Quaye (Seneca Valley HS) and Kody Swann of Newburgh (Maurice J. McDonough HS). Brian Morgan of Easton (Easton HS) was the program’s first-ever commit.

Q: How did you end up at Archbishop Spalding and in your experience coaching there within the MIAA-A what was a hallmark of some of the best teams? What was successful for you at Spalding?

A: I was a high school coach in Columbus, Ohio and we’d just finished a 14-3 season and Bear Davis, who at the time was the head coach at Spalding gave me a call and asked if I would be interested in a teaching and coaching position at Spalding. Bear has known me since I was a senior in high school and he has followed my playing and coaching career and told me he liked how I was able to develop programs.

Coaching in the MIAA-A conference at any level is very demanding and a couple of things standout as far as the best teams.

1) Skills and knowledge of the game that allowed players to do things at a faster pace than others.

2) The level of intensity that every player brought to not only the game but the practice field as well. They were always playing hard and played a very unselfish style of lacrosse. At Spalding we were successful playing a hybrid box/field style of lacrosse and dictating tempo against our opponents.

Q: What made you decide it was time to break into the college ranks?

A: Coaching at the college level was always a dream of mine since I started coaching lacrosse. When the University of the Cumberlands contacted me I knew that if I didn’t take this opportunity now that it might never happen. When I stepped onto our campus I knew that the school was the right school for me to break into the college ranks.

Q: It’s pretty unique that the NAIA/MCLA have an integrated relationship as far as competition. Do you think with so many programs popping up in the South that a new NCAA DIII team might be a possible opponent?

A: Absolutely, at the University of the Cumberlands we joined the Appalachian Athletic Conference with seven other NAIA schools that already sponsor men’s lacrosse at the varsity level. So we will have a conference tournament and an AQ into the NAIA tournament [when it inaugurates]. Our out-of-conference games will be mainly other NAIA schools mixed in with some DII and newer DIII programs from the South and Midwest. Our first two games this fall are Lincoln Memorial University (NCAA Division II) and Centre College (NCAA Division III). We are working on finalizing our schedule and I am hoping to have at least two or three NCAA opponents and a 14-game regular season schedule.

Q: What are your thoughts on attending the NAIA showcase in St. Louis in late July? It sounds like a smart format, and as you know from being in Maryland we get many showcases for high school athletes and also will be invited to work out as specific colleges. Bringing the NAIA kids into one spot should help the coaches’ efforts.  

A: I’m very excited to go to St. Louis in late July for the NAIA showcase because it’s another opportunity to see guys from different areas. It is all bringing in guys who are interested in playing NAIA in one spot so all the coaches can have the opportunity to evaluate the talent and see who would be a good first for all of our programs. We are also planning on having our own prospect camp in the future.