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Athletic Notes Winter 2014-15

December 18, 2014
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Campbell University improved by two wins in 2014, finishing the season with a 5-7 overall record and 4-4 mark in the Pioneer Football League. The Camels set several team records in 2014, including new highs in total yards and points in their 66-7 win against Missouri Baptist at Barker-Lane Stadium on Nov. 8. | Photo by Bennett Scarborough

 

Construction Begins On new Strength facility

Campbell began construction on a new, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facility addition at Barker-Lane Stadium this fall.

The nearly 6,000-square-foot facility, located in the southeast corner of Barker-Lane Stadium, home of the Camels' football and women's lacrosse programs, will feature 900 square feet of sport turf, 12 state-of-the-art custom Hammer Strength combo racks with inlaid Olympic lifting platforms, six glute hamstring developers and four Hammer Strength plate loaded machines.

The training facility will also include two Pit Shark belt squat machines, custom iron grip dumbbells, custom plyometric jumping boxes and a comprehensive nutrition and hydration station.

The new strength and conditioning center will house both Campbell's football and women's lacrosse programs. Construction is expected to conclude in January.

“Anytime you're building a football program, the heart of what you are doing is strength and conditioning,” said Campbell head football coach Mike Minter. “In order to do it right, you have to have the space for it. Campbell, its alumni and donors stepped up and gave us a weight room that we can be proud of. It will be the best in the Pioneer Football League."

 

Assistant coach was a player during Campbell's return to the gridiron in 2008

BY BILLY LIGGETT

Campbell University’s football program is trending upward. The Camels improved their win total by two games in 2014 and went a respectable 4-4 in the Pioneer Football League. The team set several records, including most yards and most points scored in a 66-7 win over Missouri Baptist in November. Attendance and excitement for the program is at an all-time high.

Former Camel linebacker and current recruiting coordinator and safeties coach Will Phillippi (’11) has a unique appreciation of the program’s rising success. The Charlotte native was a freshman here in 2007 when Campbell football returned after a 50-year hiatus. He remembers that first year (the program launched in 2007 but didn’t start playing games until 2008) before Campbell had the locker rooms, weight room, training facilities or even the football field it has today. He remembers getting ready for practice in a laundry room with no air conditioning, hanging his shoulder pads on pipes and walking out to a cow pasture in the brutal August heat for two-a-days.

“Every day we practiced there was literally a line of people at the end of the day asking to quit,” Phillippi recalls. “There were about 110 kids in that original signing class, and I know of about 15 of them who made it all four years and graduated from Campbell playing football. Those were tough times.”

Campbell went 1-10 in its first season back and 3-8 in both 2009 and 2010, Phillippi’s senior year. The program’s only winning season came in 2011, a 6-5 campaign under head coach Dale Steele during Phillippi’s first year as a grad assistant. The program regressed with another 1-10 season in 2012, leading to not only Steele’s departure, but just about the entire coaching staff.

Phillippi remained in his recruiting role when the University hired former Carolina Panthers great Mike Minter in December 2012. He says Minter’s hiring provided a much-needed spark not just for Campbell football, but for his career as well.

“I appreciate everything Coach Steele did for this program, but it was time for a change … time for a new personality,” Phillippi says. “I grew up in Charlotte, so of course I was a big Mike Minter fan when he was with the Panthers. I remember the first day he came here,” Phillip adds with a laugh. “It was like Simba returning to defeat Scar in 'The Lion King.'"

Minter asked Phillippi to coach the secondary, an important task considering Minter’s NFL career. Phillippi says that while Minter does take a special interest in his corners and safeties, he gives his young coach complete autonomy.

“He’ll give tips, suggestions and little nuggets of advice on technique,” Phillippi says. “But he lets me coach. He’s a high energy guy who shows a lot of passion, and we all feed off of that.”

LIVING HIS DREAM

Phillippi’s toughest moment as a freshman didn’t come on the football field. It was still early in the fall 2007 semester, and Buies Creek was in the middle of both a heat wave and a drought. One night, the air conditioning in his dorm went out. Desperate for some kind of breeze, Phillippi tossed his mattress outside and slept under the stars.

“Football was my passion,” he says. “That first year was tough, and our team lacked senior, junior and even sophomore leadership. We were a bunch of freshmen trying to feel things out. It was hard, but it was a learning experience.”

Phillippi decided he wanted to be a football coach during his senior year at Providence High School in Charlotte. He was recruited by smaller Division II schools in addition to Campbell, and chose the new program because he felt it offered a better path educationally and a better chance at becoming a coach. Seven years after that decision, he’s coaching alongside a former NFL star, and at age 25 is the youngest Division I football recruiting coordinator in the nation.

It appears he made the right choice. Recruiting at Campbell is much different than 2007. Phillippi says the biggest challenge is getting kids to come to Buies Creek for that initial visit. Once they’re here, he says, they’re hooked.

“Campbell doesn’t yet have the big name or the tradition that other schools we’re competing against have,” he says. “But when we do get the kids out here, they see the new stadium, the record crowds, the facilities and all of that, and they decide then they want to come here. We treat recruiting like it’s a marketing pitch. We have a lot to offer now.”

Including something Phillippi didn’t have back in 2007 — upperclass leaders.

“We’re bringing in the right kids,” he says. “Our seniors and juniors, they’ve built a culture here. They feel important on this campus. It’s good for the program.”

Phillippi’s goal is to become a Division I or II collegiate head coach. He knows it’s not going to happen terribly soon (he’d be the youngest in Division I by far if he took over tomorrow), but he’s confident it’s going to happen.

“There’s a million different ways to get there,” he says. “So far, I’m on the right path.”

 

Lady Camels finish strong

Campbell University’s women’s soccer had its best conference mark since 2011 and advanced to the Big South semifinals before falling to the top-seeded team.

Campbell’s season ended with a 2-1 loss to Liberty, ending the Lady Camels’ season with an 8-8-3 overall record and a 5-3-2 record in the Big South.

"Losing like that isn't fun, but if you step back and look at the whole picture we really had a great year,” head coach Stuart Horne said. “Where we were anticipated to finish, and what the outside people were telling us, every game we just got better."

Redshirt junior forward Ashley Clark, senior forward Kellsey Costello-Mays and sophomore midfielder Nicole Connolly were named to College Sports Madness' Big South All-Conference teams. Senior midfielder Alexis Prada and Connolly were named to the Big South Tournament All-Conference Team.

 

Thompson earns 12 saves in first season In the minors

Former Campbell relief pitcher Ryan Thompson (’14) wrapped up his first professional season with the Tri-City ValleyCats (Class A Short Season affiliate of the Houston Astros) this fall with a 2-1 record, 2.96 ERA and 12 saves in 23 appearances.

The right-handed sidewinder pitched 24 1/3 innings, helping Tri-City go 48-28 overall, falling one game short of the New York-Penn League Championship. He was named to the New York-Penn League North Division All-Star Team in his first year.

The two-time collegiate All-American was selected by the Houston Astros in the 23rd round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

 

Campbell wins seventh-straight Camel Classic

For the seventh-straight time, 30th-ranked Campbell won its Fighting Camel Fall Classic intercollegiate women's golf tournament in October with three players among the top five individuals. Campbell topped second-place High Point by 13 strokes.

Lisbeth Brooks and Nadine White tied for second place individually and Tahnia Ravnjak was fifth as Campbell won its first title of the 2014-15 campaign. Campbell has won at least one tournament crown in 23 of the 24 years John Crooks has served as head coach of the women's program. Campbell's 54-hole total was the second-lowest in the tournament's history, bettered only by last year's 887 winning score.

Losing just one player from last year’s NCAA Championship-qualifying squad, Campbell has high hopes for the 2015 campaign, which begins in February. This fall, the Lady Camels were ranked first in the nation in “greens in regulation” percentage, with Brooke Bellomy leading the country with an 86.1 percentage. Campbell opened its 2014 fall season with a runner-up showing at the Golfweek Program Challenge at Pawley’s Island, S.C.

Freshman Bradley Farias (19) of Indiantown, Fla., fights for possession during an October home game against High Point. Campbell’s season ended on Nov. 11 after a 2-0 loss to the Big South’s top-seeded Radford in the conference quarterfinals. | Photo by Bennett Scarborough

The 2014 Campbell University baseball team received their 2014 Big South Championship rings at halftime of the home football finale at Barker-Lane Stadium on Nov. 8. Campbell finished the 2014 season with a 41-21 overall record, tying for the second-most wins in school history. The Camels claimed the Big South Tournament Championship in Rock Hill, S.C., earning the school's second NCAA Regional berth.

 

Orange airwaves

Campbell men's basketball has multiple appearances on national, regional TV this year

The Fighting Camels’ men’s basketball team will enjoy its widest-ranging regular season telecast schedule in the program's history.

In addition to a pair of appearances on ESPN3, the Camels will be televised in three of the Big South Conference's seven telecasts on the new American Sports Network, which will televise a Big South game on five Mondays and two Tuesdays this season. The first Big South matchup on ASN will air Jan. 12 with defending Big South champion Coastal Carolina traveling to Buies Creek to meet the Camels.

Campbell’s Jan. 17 home game against UNC-Asheville and its Feb. 21 home game against Charleston Southern will be televised on ESPN3. ESPNU will also carry additional “Big South Game of the Week” games throughout the season, choosing those games days in advance.

"We are excited about the opportunity to play so many TV games this year," said second-year Fighting Camel head coach Kevin McGeehan. "For us to have eight TV games, complimented with the Big South Network games, an out of town parent or recruit will have the opportunity to see us play more than 20 times during the season. That's great for our visibility.”

 

"When it was humpin', it was loud."

— Andy Shell, Campbell's director of campus recreation, in an October feature in the Fayetteville Observer on Carter Gymnasium, the second-smallest Division I basketball gym (961 capacity) and the Fighting Camels’ home before the Pope Convocation Center opened in 2007.

 

Camel Cam

Communication studies students launch athletic-themed, behind-the-scenes online show

Senior Carly Eibel films while junior Lisa Sacaccio hosts a segment of the new student-run sports show, “Camel Cam.” | Photo by Jordyn Gum

Campbell University Athletics launched a new program in the fall to bring the latest sports news and interviews to all Fighting Camel fans.

“Camel Cam” gives students and fans a weekly behind-the-scenes look at all Campbell sports. Each episode includes recaps, scores and the “Candid Camel” interview.

“We wanted it to be a short, fun, quick look at Campbell Athletics,” said Chris Hemeyer, the department’s director of broadcasting and digital media and the creative force behind the show. “We have a lot of great, smart, talented students that I wanted to give a chance to get some more experience both in front of and behind the camera.”

Students like senior George Yiznitsky get involved by taking on several responsibilities. Yiznitsky set up shots, worked sound, editing video and even hosted shows on occasion during the fall.

“I love how I’m not just a figurehead or host for the show. I get to take part in every aspect,” said junior Lisa Sacaccio. “Students who work on Camel Cam need to be well rounded and educated in various aspects of broadcasting.”

Camel Cam’s first episode surpassed 500 views, which Heymeyer said topped the average of his weekly online sports show.

“I enjoy interviewing the athletes and letting the rest of the school get to know them a little better,” said senior Carley Eibel. “We’re always brainstorming for ideas for future shows.”

— by Rachel Rock

Schedules

MEN’S BASKETBALL

  • Nov. 14 Barber Scotia 7:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 18 at Davidson 7 p.m.
    TWC
  • Nov. 22 at Colgate 2 p.m.
    (Buckeye Classic, Ohio)
  • Nov. 26 at Ohio State 7 p.m.
  • BTN (Buckeye Classic, Ohio)
  • Nov. 30 at Sacred Heart 3:30 p.m.
  • (Buckeye Classic, Ohio)
  • Dec. 2 at James Madison 7 p.m.
  • (Buckeye Classic, Ohio)
  • Dec. 8 Johnson & Wales 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 10 at Delaware State 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 14 at College of Charleston 2 p.m.
  • MyTV Charleston
  • Dec. 17 SIUE 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 20 Montreat College 2 p.m.
  • Dec. 23 UNC Wilmington 2 p.m.
  • Dec. 28 at Samford 2 p.m.
  • Dec. 31 Liberty* 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 5 at Charleston Southern* 7:30 p.m.
  • Jan. 10 at High Point* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 12 Coastal Carolina* 8 p.m.
  • ASN
  • Jan. 15 Radford* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 17 UNC-Asheville* 4 p.m.
  • ESPN3
  • Jan. 22 at Presbyterian* 7 p.m.
  • ESPNU**
  • Jan. 24 at Wintrhop* 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 26 Gardner-Webb* 8 p.m.
  • ASN
  • Jan. 31 at UNC-Asheville* 4:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 3 Presbyterian* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 6 at Gardner-Webb* 7 p.m.
  • ESPNU**
  • Feb. 10 at Liberty* 8 p.m.
  • ASN/LFSN
  • Feb. 14 High Point* 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 19 at Coastal Carolina* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 21 Charleston Southern* 4 p.m.
  • ESPN3
  • Feb. 26 Winthrop* 7 p.m.
  • ESPNU**
  • Feb. 28 at Longwood* 2 p.m.
  • March 6 Big S. Quarterfinals All Day
  • ESPN3**
  • March 7 Big S. Semifinals Noon, 2 p.m.
  • ESPN3**
  • March 8 Big S. Championship 1 p.m.
  • ESPN2**
  • * Big South Conference game
  • ** Game could potentially feature Campbell

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

  • Nov. 14 Pfeiffer 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 17 N.C. Central 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 19 at UNC Wilmington 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 21 Mount St. Mary’s 7 p.m.
  • Nov. 24 at Western Carolina 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 2 at Winthrop* 6 p.m.
  • Dec. 13 at Charleston Southern* 2 p.m.
  • Dec. 15 Brevard 7 p.m.
  • Dec. 17 Elon 3 p.m.
  • Dec. 19 at Stetson 1 p.m.
    (Hatter Classic, DeLand, Fla.)
  • Dec. 20 at Bethune-Cookman 3 p.m.
    (Hatter Classic)
  • Dec. 30 Presbyterian* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 3 at Longwood* 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 5 at High Point* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 10 UNC Asheville* 1 p.m.
  • Jan. 13 Gardner-Webb* 11:45 a.m.
  • Jan. 17 Radford* 1 p.m.
  • Jan. 20 at Coastal Carolina* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 24 at Liberty* 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 27 at Presbyterian* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 31 Longwood* 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 2 Winthrop* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 5 Charleston Southern* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 10 at UNC Asheville* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 14 High Point* 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 17 at Gardner-Webb* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 21 at Radford* 2 p.m.
  • Feb. 24 Coastal Carolina* 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 28 Liberty* 1 p.m.

Wrestling

  • Nov. 16 Wolfpack Open
    in Raleigh All day
  • Nov. 23 Keystone Classic
  • in Pennsylvania All day
  • Dec. 13 at Cleveland State
  • Open in Ohio All day
  • Dec. 20 at The Citadel* 2 p.m.
    Jan. 1-2 at Southern Scuffle
    in Tennessee All day
  • Jan. 11 at Appalachian St.* 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 16 VMI* 7 p.m.
  • Jan. 18 at Chattanooga* 2 p.m.
  • Jan. 22 Gardner-Webb* 6 p.m.
  • Jan. 25 at SIU-Edwardsville* (The Citadel) 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 15 at Davidson* 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 15 vs. Coker 2:30 p.m.