Class of 2016
Of all the great basketball players to come out of Athens High School, Jeff Campbell is right there with the best of them.
He is certainly one of the tallest. Standing 6 foot, 9 inches, Campbell dominated the post for the Golden Eagles from 1987-90 and was part of one of the best eras in Athens basketball history.
“We weren’t bad. We had some good teams during that time,” said Campbell. “It was a fun time to play ball. I had some good teammates. Coach (Jerry) Todd was a great coach. It was a great time in my life.”
Todd, also a member of the Limestone Sports Hall of Fame, knew about Campbell well before he became a member of the varsity squad as freshman in 1987. As a family friend, Todd saw the tall and lanky Campbell literally grow up before his eyes.
“I stopped growing when I was 14,” said Campbell. “When I got to high school, it wasn’t bad at all. A lot of people have hit their growth spurts by then. In junior high, I remember struggling with coordination a little bit. Coach Todd was glad to have me on the team though.”
It didn’t take Campbell long to become a dominant force and turn Athens into one of the premier teams in the state. The Golden Eagles won three consecutive area championships and advanced to the quarterfinals during Campbell’s junior and senior seasons.
“My senior year we were 32-4,” said Campbell. “We lost in the first round of the state playoffs that year to
Woodlawn, who went on to win the whole thing I think.”
As a first-team All-State selection, Campbell was a sought-after recruit his senior season. With offers from Alabama, Auburn and many other Division-I teams, it was Brigham Young University that eventually earned his signature.
“Alabama started recruiting me pretty heavily my sophomore year. They started recruiting me when Keith Askins was there,” said Campbell about the former Athens standout. “I got letters from a lot of schools you had no idea existed. BYU really didn’t come along until late. It came down to Alabama and BYU and I took my visits and went out there and loved it.”
Campbell played his freshman season at BYU, then took a two-year mission trip — as many BYU students who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do. When he returned, Campbell became an immediate contributor for BYU, playing in back-to-back NCAA tournaments his sophomore and junior seasons.
During his senior season, Campbell led BYU in scoring with 15.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. “My last year was kind of a funky year because we had a lot of freshmen and I was 24 at the time,” said
Campbell. “I played in two NCAA tournament games and those were pretty cool. It’s all it’s hyped up to be.”