Kampe Turns Out Good Citizens

FAYETTEVILLE -- From his courtside demeanor, Oakland basketball coach Greg Kampe seems fitted to the name of his hometown, Defiance, Ohio.

"He's mild-mannered off the court, but on the court he's a bull, as you can see," said Golden Grizzlies radio announcer Lorne Plant. "He's very passionate. He loves what he does and loves Oakland."

Only nine active Division I coaches have more tenure at their schools than Kampe, who is 366-279 in his 23rd year at Oakland.

The Grizzlies won 24 games in 1996-97, then moved up from Division II in 1999 and created a brief buzz in the 2005 NCAA Tournament by winning a play-in game before losing to eventual champion North Carolina.

Kampe, who carried a 3.4 grade-point while playing both football and basketball at Bowling Green, has helped at least one Grizzly per season earn conference academic honors.

"We try to do things the right way with good people who receive a good education and then go out into the world and have success after basketball," Kampe said. "That's what our mission is."

Oakland plays a tough schedule which has included losses to UMass, then No. 4 Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Grizzlies led Cincinnati much of the game before losing 68-61. From Fayetteville, they go to No. 1 UCLA on Saturday.

Kampe's father, Kurt, played guard for the 1947 Michigan football team that went 10-0 and won the Rose Bowl game and national championship.

Kampe reacted angrily to early setbacks during Oakland's 91-57 loss to Arkansas on Thurday night, then became more reconciled to the situation.

"Arkansas had 18 steals -- I've never seen anything like it," Kampe said. "Their first 10 points came in transition. (Patrick) Beverley got going early and 33 (Vincent Hunter) hit three 3s. They weren't rusty at all from finals.

"It sounds funny when they score 91, but they had trouble with our set defense. The problem was, we could never get in it."


During the first half, Oakland reserve guard Brandon "B.C." Cassise flew over the media table and cleared an empty chair between radio guy Plant and Oakland sports information director Phil Hess, a 1982 Michigan grad who worked nine years for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Plant and Hess prevented Cassise from getting hurt, but it took Cassise awhile to extricate himself from the risers. Hess' coke spilled, but laptops escaped damage and Plant remained on the air.

Later, Arkansas' Charles Thomas took a charge and shook out the pain in his left hand while receiving kind words from UA fans along the baseline. Thomas turned to them and nodded his appreciation.


Hogs center Steven Hill, who made 5-of-5 floor shots and called for the basketball at times, is now 23-of-32 from the field this season for a team-leading percentage of .719.

Darian Townes, 3-of-6, is next with 31-of-53 for .585.

Townes and Hill, however, got just three rebounds between them and Oakland won the board battle 31-26.

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