Special Honor for Campbell
The National Football Foundation will officially re-name the Draddy Trophy, (also known as the "academic Heisman"), the William V. Campbell Trophy later today.
To Columbia football fans, he's still "Bill Campbell," even though he's a super successful Silicon Valley executive and current Chairman of the Columbia Board of Trustees.
Before that he was the captain and heart of the Lions 1961 Ivy championship team, and later the head coach of Columbia football from 1974-79.
Day 17: Bill Campbell '62
... and what a coincidence that I've chosen to honor Campbell's years as a standout guard for the Lions in today's installment of the "100 Players in 100 Days" countdown.
Campbell came to Columbia in 1958 from the Pennsylvania steel country with a slight problem: he was a 5-10, 165-pound guard and he had stopped growing.
But he made up for his lack of size with determination and effort, eventually becoming the heart of the team.
After decent efforts, but few wins in his first two varsity seasons, Campbell stayed behind in New York City in the summer of '61 and made sure his key teammates did the same. That summer, they followed a tough regimen and got in shape physically and mentally for what remains the best Columbia season since the official formation of the Ivy League.
Campbell never made the All Ivy teams, mostly because there were no second teams or honorable mentions back then, but everyone from the most casual fan to the players in the trenches new that the team captain was the real reason Columbia won the Ivy championship that season.
For of Campbell's amazing achievements on the field, it's what he's done off of it in his post-college life that's even more amazing.
At first, he got his Master's in education from Teacher's College while he worked as the freshman football coach at CU. Later, he became an assistant football coach at Boston College. He took over as head coach at his alma mater in 1974.
Campbell was in charge of the football program at just about the nadir for CU football and New York City. He had some minor successes, especially a strong start in the 1978 season, but overall his 12-41-1 record speaks for itself. It wasn't for lack of effort, Campbell was hospitalized for exhaustion on one occasion, but if you look back at the teams in those years you have to realize that the talent pool just wasn't anywhere near as deep as it is now on Morningside Heights.
After stepping down as coach, Campbell got a job in advertising with the J. Walter Thompson Agency. One of his clients was Kodak, who was so impressed with Campbell it hired away to lead its sales force.
The came the tech explosion and the folks from Apple came calling. Years later, Steve Jobs would say Campbell's value to the company is immeasurable... and we all know how hard it is for Steve Jobs to share the credit for anything.
This excellent piece on Campbell that appeared in Fortune Magazine last year really details all his personal successes, even as he still coaches 8th grade football near his home in the Bay Area.
I know many of my readers have been asking how people should respond when football and athletics in general are attacked at Columbia.
You should respond by saying: "Bill Campbell."