Colis and Dolores Campbell are first inductees to the York College Sports Hall of Fame.
Often, the term “coach” is associated with fiery tirades and impassioned speeches. Someone that pushes their players physically and mentally to the limits and then pushes a little harder. Someone who is feared as well as respected.
This is not how players remember Colis Campbell.
Campbell coached men’s basketball and taught Bible at York College from 1958 to 1975. During that time, he mentored hundreds of young men, teaching them more than how to just dribble, pass, and shoot.
He taught them how to live in a way that honored God.
A Loving Leader
“He was a different kind of coach than I had ever had,” recalls Dickie Hill ’64. “He was low-key, calm and laid back. He supported you. He didn’t yell. He was always positive.”
Campbell was the first Christian coach Hill had played for, and he said the difference between Campbell’s affirming coaching style was what set him apart and made players love him. After college, Hill went on to coach basketball and tennis himself. He was influenced in his own coaching style by his years under Campbell, he says.
Coach Campbell didn’t minister to the athletes alone, however. His wife, Dolores, was an integral part of the team. She cooked for and looked after the players and cheerleaders, many of whom called her “mom,” says Charlie Watts ’65. For their quiet, continuous acts of service, players loved and admired both Colis and Dolores immensely, he says.
Respect was the cornerstone of Campbell’s coaching philosophy, says Watts, especially when it came to discipline. “I can remember showing up late for practice a couple of times,” he says. “He didn’t lecture me about it, but I knew that my hind-end was going to be on the bench the next game. That’s how he took care of things, in a very quiet and respectful manner. He always showed respect toward his players and they had a great deal of respect for him.”
“We played hard for him,” says Watts. “He was an individual that you respected right from the beginning. He was a great Christian example to us.”
An overdue honor
The Campbells had left such a mark on players’ lives, that on a recent visit to the York College campus, Hill was dismayed to find that there was no mention of the coach and his wife anywhere on campus.
That just shouldn’t be, he thought.
Hill approached York College about creating the YC Sports Hall of Fame and honoring the Campbells by making them the first inductees.
“It’s an honor that is way overdue,” agreed Watts. “They gave a great deal of their lives and time to York, and I know how much it meant to those of us that were here.”
On Saturday, October 8, Colis and Dolores Campbell were recognized at the first York College Sports Hall of Fame ceremony. Hill presided over the ceremony along with York College Athletic Director Jared Stark ’01 and President Steve Eckman ‘71.
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