The Kansas swimming and diving program shows no signs of wavering under head coach Clark Campbell’s leadership, proving one of its best seasons ever during the 2013-14 season. The 2014 Big 12 Coach of the Year has posted a 158-89 dual meet record over three programs including Kansas, West Virginia Wesleyan and University of Evansville.
Campbell’s laid-back and genuine demeanor helps to build close relationships with each of his swimmers outside of the pool. Not only does he care about making his swimmers better in the pool, but also in the classroom. Campbell’s team has been named by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) as a national Academic All-American Team earning a team GPA of 3.0 or higher all 24 semesters he has managed the program.
Attention to detail is what makes Campbell’s practices productive. Every set he organizes for the swimmers has scientific reasoning behind why it works and will ultimately lead to success. His team at KU has placed in the top-five at the Big 12 Championships all 13 seasons. At Kansas, Campbell has coached 18 swimmers to NCAA Championship appearances.
Currently in his 13th season at Kansas, Campbell finished 2013-14 being named Coach of the Year at the 2014 Big 12 Championships. At the meet, he led his team to a second-place finish, marking the highest in program history. Campbell coached the team’s first Big 12 Champion, Chelsie Miller, to victory in the 400-yard individual medley. The Jayhawks finished the season with a 6-4 dual meet record, broke seven school records and placed nine members on the All-Big 12 Academic Team. Together, the team posted an average GPA of 3.31.
Coaching Before Kansas
Prior to his appointment at KU, Campbell coached at the University of Evansville for three years. There, he led several athletes to success at the national level and helped the Evansville program reach new heights. The Purple Aces established school records in all 19 men’s and women’s events while Campbell was at the helm of the program in 1998. Those top marks included 12 Missouri Valley Conference records. During his four years at Evansville, his squads were named Academic All-America by the CSCAA all eight semesters. In 2000, Campbell was named the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s and Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year.
From 1995-98, Campbell served as the assistant men’s swimming coach at the University of Minnesota. During his time in Minneapolis, the Golden Gophers captured Big Ten conference titles in 1996 and 1998 while earning top-15 finishes all three years at the NCAA Championships.
Campbell served as the head coach of the men’s and women’s programs at West Virginia Wesleyan from 1993-1995 and directed the school into a top-10 NAIA program in just two years. He was named the NAIA Swimming Coach of the Year in 1995.
Campbell competed as a professional triathlete for seven years before his coaching career began. After turning professional at the age of 19, he became one of the most consistent top-10 finishers on the pro circuit. During his career, Campbell was self-coached. He was the 1986 National Long Course Champion and the 1990 runner-up at the United States Triathlon Series National Championship. Campbell received a Bachelor’s degree from Kansas in 1993, and a Master’s in physical education/coaching from West Virginia University in 1995. Campbell and his wife, Cassie, have three children, Canaan, Cierra and Claire.