Louis Campbell feels "second birth"

Louis Campbell was named secondary coach Friday at Arkansas. He's spent the last seven years as director of football operations after coaching the UA defensive backs from 1990-97. Of his 29 years on college staffs, 14 have been at Arkansas. Clay Henry caught up with Campbell as he was hosting recruits Friday afternoon for a phone interview.

Louis Campbell said he feels "a second birth" Friday after it was announced that he is moving back to coaching after a seven-year stint as Arkansas' director of football operations.

Campbell was not available at the press conference because he was coordinating the on-campus recruiting efforts this afternoon as director of football operations. He will take over as secondary coach in February, but is still technically the DofFO.

Louis returned this writer's call as he was hosting a recruit, the name of which he could not reveal to me ... not that I asked real hard. Here are some of the highlights of a 20-minute interview.

"The Lord led me to Arkansas, kept me here and led me back to the field now," Campbell said. "I'm grateful. Plus, my wife told me I had to do it. After seven years of having me around a little more, she asked if I could please leave on a recruiting trip."

Campbell said he has always maintained a friendship with Reggie Herring since there days on the Oklahoma State staff some 20 years ago, but said he wouldn't say that the two were really close friends.

"You get to know someone and are always glad to see them through the years," Campbell said. "Not that we were all that close, but we are friends and we maintained that friendship. I've always enjoyed Reggie and crossing paths was fun. I've enjoyed being around him the last year."

I mentioned that I wondered aloud in the press conference earlier today if it wasn't true that Louis Campbell's old duties weren't being divided by three men. Campbell said, "Yeah, right. That job didn't pay like three jobs."

Campbell said he "enjoyed" his seven years as an administrator, but admitted that coaching "was never out of my system. Everyone who has ever coached never gets that itch to coach out of their system. I always missed the staff meetings, the fellowship among the staff in the meeting room, the game planning. I missed the sidelines, the time you might can help a young person. You miss the locker room, all of that."

There was also the thought that good times are approaching and he wants to "get the bad times of the 90s out of my system. That's some of it, to some degree. In my own mind, I'm associated with the bad times of the 90s. I want to be part of the good times that we have right in front of us."

Campbell did help coordinate the defense and coach the secondary when Keith Burns left the Hogs just before the Cotton Bowl victory over Texas.

"I don't know that that whet my appetite because I don't think I ever got it out of my system," Campbell said. "I will say that you enjoy that feeling of beating Texas, being around a victory like that and in that setting. That was good. It is the epitome of coaching. I think, though, that the desire was always there. Always, deep down, I wanted to come back."

There have been more than a few rumors that other schools had called in hopes of enticing Campbell to coach.

"I wouldn't call them offers," he said. "I would say they were feelers. They didn't get to the offer stage. I did get some calls, but some of them might have been people just trying to make you feel good. You don't know what stage they might have gotten to because I always told them that I was where I wanted to be, here in this state and at this school.

"I'm not saying that I would have turned down a special offer because I don't know since I didn't get any like that. I'm just saying that when I came back here in the 90s that I made a commitment to my family to stay in one place and to be here while they grew up. That's what my commitment was to my family. I wanted to do everything I could to stay close."


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