WARSAW – He’s been a loyal servant to the program, and to the sport. He’s even had a chance to drive the ship. Now, Matt Campbell will get the keys.
Campbell was named the new girls cross country coach at Warsaw, hired to replace Scott Erba after Erba announced earlier this spring he had stepped down from the position. Campbell, who was an assistant with the girls cross country program last season and interim head coach in 2014 when Erba took a leave of absence, was given the head coaching job this past week.
Campbell had been an assistant for Jim Mills’ boys cross country program at Warsaw in 2011 and 2013, and was the head coach at Edgewood Middle School in 2012, where he coached some of the girls who he will guide this coming fall.
“I felt good about the process,” Campbell said in a phone interview Sunday evening. “Erba mentioned in February about the possibility of leaving, and I felt confident about the chance of getting the job. I certainly wasn’t overconfident, though, nothing was guaranteed. This will be a good chance for me.”
Campbell, in his one year at the wheel for Warsaw in 2014, guided the Lady Tigers to Northern Lakes Conference, sectional and regional cross country titles, which concluded with a 16th-place team finish at the state finals. The cross country team also won the NLC, sectional and regional titles in 2015 and placed 12th at state with him as an assistant.
Campbell, who ran with the Warsaw cross country program from 2003-07, will have a staff comprised of Richard Sellers, Pete Bigler, Cendall Murphy, Kirk Beckham and Nina Ferry come this fall.
Asked about replacing one of the great running coaches in the area in Erba, Campbell offered, “Yeah, I think this is more official now. He’s got a lot of great things on his horizon. And I learned an awful lot working with him.
“I can just go on now and run the program. I don’t need to seek approval if I want to make a decision, we can just get things going. One of my strongest traits is being organized. (Head coaching) is nothing new to me. That was one of the things that made Erba so successful was that he was organized and had the details down. That should help me carry on the girls program.”
Campbell has also been coaching the distance runners for the ultra-successful Warsaw girls track program for the past four seasons. Erba will continue to serve as head coach for the track program.
In preparation for the upcoming season, Campbell has already been very busy in the offseason in working with the returning and potential incoming talent, coordinating the distance camps, and prepping for summer conditioning. He is active with warsawxc.com and has been very active on social media.
“I’m looking forward to the job, and getting the kids into training,” Campbell said. “I have a good staff in place and we have a lot of really talented girls coming back. I’m really excited to get into this.”