Journal class

Campbell set to guide Greenwood through uncertain future

It seems like a turbulent time at Greenwood High, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to Mike Campbell.

A teacher and coach in these halls since the fall of 1996, Campbell has seen and heard just about everything over the years, so of course he won’t be bothered by the start of the school year with five new sports coaches from fall, a new director and a new sporting director.

This is probably a good thing, since Campbell is the new sports director. It’s her course to sail now.

He pushes back against the idea that Woodmen World is one giant cauldron of chaos these days, attributing it to the fortuitous moment of a director and AD both leaving for new jobs around the same time.

“From the outside, it looks like there’s been a huge turnover, but if you look back over the last 10 to 15 years, there really hasn’t been a lot of turnover,” Campbell said. “I really don’t think it’s as unstable as it sounds. (Former principal Todd Garrison) was here 18 years and (former AD Rob Irwin) was here seven years, so we had a stable long-term base.

“It’s my 27th year here, so I think that in itself will bring some stability.”

Recently, life has been anything but stable for Campbell, who simultaneously taught three English classes, took on his fair share of temporary athletic director duties and coached the Greenwood football team, something he will continue to do throughout. throughout this season before putting on the helmet. for real.

It is not yet clear who will be his successor, but Campbell will walk away satisfied no matter how his 17th and final season at the helm goes.

“I had a great career,” he said. ” I had a lot of fun. We had a lot of good times, some successes, and I think when I look at that, I’m happy with what I’ve been able to do and the experiences I’ve had. … We’re going to be on the rise here for the next three or four years, so it will be a good time for a new coach to take over. Peaks are coming sooner rather than later.

Reaching those heights could become increasingly difficult for Greenwood across the board. With 9-12 enrollment steady around the 1,200 mark, the school is going to find itself at an increasingly disadvantage to some of its peers in the Mid-State Conference. Martinsville has shrunk and is now right next to the Woodmen as the league’s smallest schools; Perry Meridian is about twice the size of the two, and Whiteland and Plainfield quickly fall into the same range at the top.

While Campbell sincerely believes Greenwood can continue to be competitive, he acknowledges that it will take a concerted effort to keep students from drifting away from sports — or worse, leaving town.

“One of the big things is that we have to keep our college numbers athletically in all sports,” Campbell said. “We’re competing with other schools in the Mid-State who may have 700, 800, or 900 kids in a class, and we have 300 kids in a class, we have to find ways to make sure those kids don’t get discouraged. not. — because by combining two or three classes, we were competitive. But it comes down to numbers in all sports, and that will be something we will definitely work on.

A founding member of Mid-State since 1942, the Woodmen have had to fight to stay relevant as the tide of numbers has shifted against them. They’ve managed to do it again lately – soccer won a Class 4A region in 2017, men’s basketball won a section title in 2020 and many other school teams continue to soar at least in the middle of the conference pack – but there has been chatter in the county that a move to another league could one day become inevitable.

Campbell hopes to avoid it as long as possible.

“They’re still on your mind, but…we’re not actively looking or anything,” he said. “The great thing about Mid-State is the competition is great, the schools are great, the kids are great, the travel is fantastic. It’s a fantastic conference.

No matter where the winds of change might blow over Greenwood in the years to come, Campbell has no intention of going anywhere. With his youngest son currently in sixth grade, he plans to stick with his new job at least until the 2028-29 school year, and possibly longer.

He has spent his entire working life in the same building and would like to stay there until he is ready to retire.

“I love Greenwood and I’m loyal,” Campbell said. “I’m a Woodman, that’s for sure.”