Bret Campbell, the 2008-09 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year, has been named assistant basketball coach at Austin Peay State University.
This is the second time Campbell has served as an Austin Peay assistant. He was an assistant to Dave Loos and later associate head coach from 1992-99. He then went to UT Martin as head coach, beginning in 1999, until his resignation in Summer 2009 after leading the Skyhawks to their first-ever OVC regular-season title. This past season he served as Director of Basketball Operations at Murray State.
“I am excited about coming back to Austin Peay after spending seven years here previously,” Campbell said. “I think I know the University and the community well. First and foremost, I have such great respect for Dave Loos. No. 1, I think he is top coach in the OVC. Not only do I respect him as a coach, but he also is a very good friend. I look forward to working with him again in the basketball arena and helping improve Austin Peay basketball, keeping it at the top of the OVC.”
The position recently became available when the University granted the athletic department opportunities to hire additional personnel to augment the department.
“I am especially excited about the addition to our basketball staff, in particular Bret,” said Loos, who begins his 21st season as the Governors head coach. “He strengthens our staff a great deal and will help our basketball program move forward. He brings almost 25 years in this business to us, including 10 years as a head coach.
“I think he is an excellent basketball coach who is a strong recruiter—and really has a passion for that aspect of the job. I believe it will be a real smooth transition. He spent seven years here previously. He was popular in this community—very well liked by our fans. Philosophically, I believe he and I are basically on the same page.”
He joins a staff that also includes Scott Combs and Charles “Bubba” Wells, both former Governors players whom Campbell helped coach during his previous APSU tenure.
“I think it will not only be a smooth transition for me, but for an entire staff as well,” Loos said. “Scott and Bubba are familiar with Bret, not just because he has been in the league (as a coach), but also because both played on teams here when Bret was an assistant.
“The idea was to get everyone’s strengths and coordinate them in support of our players and this program. Obviously, he knows this league, with 18 years of experience in the OVC. I just think it is a great fit for us and Bret and his family. It is very good to have them back home.”
Campbell led the Skyhawks to their first Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2009 and their first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance. The team posted a 14-4 league record that season and a 22-10 overall worksheet, the best overall record in school history and the most wins for UT Martin since playing as an NCAA Division I team. After winning a school-record 11 straight games, the Skyhawks cracked the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll for the first time Feb. 23rd, 2009.
Campbell, 48, led the Skyhawks to five consecutive OVC postseason tournaments; he recruited the Freshman of the Year or OVC Newcomer of the Year four times and recruited two-time OVC Player of the Year Lester Hudson.
Campbell went to UT Martin in March 1999, after serving nearly eight years at Austin Peay, including the 1995-96 season that saw the Governors captured the OVC tourney championships and appear in the NCAA tournament as well as the 1996-97 season where APSU captured a portion of the OVC regular-season title. The Anderson, Ind., native served as head coach for 292 games at UT Martin.
“I think I certainly can be beneficial having been a head basketball coach in the league for 10 years,” Campbell said, “Being the head coach of an OVC championship (at UTM) two years ago and being a part of an OVC championship (at Murray State) last year to go with what we achieved when I was here the first time, I believe I understand what it takes to be successful in this league. I have been fortunate to be able to experience championships.
“I have gained valuable experiences as a head coach—it gives me the ability to help in a lot of areas. I think I look at things differently. Hopefully, I can help more not only in the recruiting but on the floor and with our players. Knowing Scott and Bubba as well as I do, I am excited just to be a part of this coaching staff. I think we all know each other very well. I think that helps blend into good success.”
Previously, Austin Peay was one of a few Division I basketball programs that did not have three full-time assistant coaches.
“I certainly want to thank President (Tim) Hall in making it possible to have these additions to our athletic department,” Loos said, “not only an additional position to our staff, but one in women’s basketball, one in academic services and one in sports information (and marketing) as well. They are a direct result of what is going on at Austin Peay—an increase in enrollment and, quite honestly, our ability to help pay for these positions in terms of what we have been doing guarantee (game)-wise in basketball and what we are entering into in football.”