Smithville head coach Michael Campbell found an offer suddenly come up that he couldn’t turn down.
Campbell will be leaving the Seminoles after three seasons as their head coach and going to Itawamba AHS to be the Indians’ next offensive coordinator.
He replaces Baylor Dampeer, who left after three years as OC to be head coach at Houston.
“It happened really quick, and it was a tough decision,” Campbell said. “It’s been a successful three years at Smithville, both on and off the field. It’s a great program, and I enjoyed being a part of that tradition. I walked into a great situation there. The coaching staff made it easy because they were awesome to work with. The kids were an absolute joy and made every day good. I loved every minute of it.”
Campbell was previously an assistant coach at IAHS from 2010-13.
“I will have complete control of the offense, and it’s good to go back to a place I have been before,” he said. “I know a lot of people there, most of the coaching staff, and they reached out to me to see if I was interested. It’s a place that feels like home, and the timing and everything else all fits.”
Smithville finished 8-3 last year and just narrowly missed out on a playoff spot in a tiebreaker in a tough Division 2-1A.
The Noles have compiled a 28-11 record in three seasons under Campbell, reaching the playoffs twice, including a division championship and a North final appearance in 2018.
Campbell said leaving during the schools being shut down and not getting to break the news to his Smithville players in person was the toughest part of his departure.
“I love those kids, those guys, and I appreciate all the hard work that they put in. The players and the parents both bought in and were awesome to me, as was the community as a whole,” he said. “The best I could do was post a video on our team app and reach out to them that way. I plan on coming back so I can look them in the eye on day and say, ‘I still love you guys and am still here for you, and I’m only a phone call away.’”
IAHS finished out the season 13-1 with its lone loss coming in the quarterfinals of the playoffs to eventual Class 4A champion Corinth. The Indians averaged 37 points a game but lose key weapons in running back Ike Chandler and quarterback Daeveon Sistrunk.