Clovis West hoops coach is fiery on the court, an artist off it
When the Clovis West girls play in Saturday night's D-I Section Championship game, the team will be looking for a sixth consecutive Valley Title. Year in and year out, the Golden Eagles win, and win and win.
Clovis West's won the TRAC Championship in each of the 13 seasons under head coach Craig Campbell, and have won 60 straight TRAC games, a stretch of six years. The team's also been Valley Champs eight times under Campbell, and in 2017, was crowned State and National Champions.
The only thing more reliable than the Golden Eagles hanging banners - is their coach's intensity.
"It's kind of scary, to be honest," says Campbell's daughter, Maddie, a junior guard. "Like you don't even have to see or hear anything to know that he's already like staring through your soul."
Campbell is well aware of the criticism.
"God, this guy's a monster, he's intense, you know," says Campbell. "But what am I yelling at my kids? I'm not degrading them, I'm not putting them down, we're not condescending, we're demanding an expectation."
Campbell likes to express himself. And not just on the court.
Believe it or not, the stomping mad hoops coach - is a high school art teacher. Campbell is not at all out of his league in the classroom, either. In fact, he says he's more confident in his drawing abilities than his coaching abilities. In one drawing, he wrote the word Jordan hundreds of times, to create what actually looks like a photo of Michael Jordan.
"First time I'd ever done that type of work," says Campbell. "Very similar to when you do dot sketching."
Like coaching, the art is about details.
"I'll work on an area that big for an hour and a half," says Campbell. "I want it to be perfect when it's done."
Despite graduating five seniors who are playing Division One college ball, Clovis West is nearly perfect this season. A 29-3 record, and back in the Valley Championship game, led by Maddie Campbell - who grew up in the gym, with her dad.
"I'd like always come to his practices," says Maddie. "I'd be like, 'Dad can I go to your 7 a.m. practice?' I'd wake up super early even if that means I like came and slept in the gym on the gym floor."
Dad adds, "as a little kid, second grade, third grade [she] would ask questions, I'm like, 'jeeze.' I mean that was a very advanced question for a second or third grader, but she gets it. She just loves to win and loves the game."
As a junior, Maddie's scored 41 points in a game, broken single-season school records for three-pointers and total points, and is now on pace to shatter Golden Eagles career scoring records by the time she graduates. Maddie's also received a scholarship offer from at least one school in each of the Power Five conferences. But her favorite part about this year?
"Proving people wrong," she says. "Everyone's doubted us. They've been doubting us since I can remember, like since I was in elementary school. So every year we still have the same expectations."
Win, and win, and win. That's the Clovis West girls and their ultra-competitive coach, who's still a self-reflective artist at heart.
"I recognize when I'm too hard," says Craig Campbell. "But it's also, I think our kids, because we have such a relationship with our kids, you can coach them harder too. We're trying to teach them life skills far beyond basketball because they're going to have they're going be a lot harder things that you're going to get through in life whether it's turnovers a bad call or coach Campbell getting on them. And so all those things we're preparing these kids to be tough minded to be successful and use that vessel to be successful in life."