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Grizzlies are building, not rebuilding

29-year-old Andy Campbell tackles challenge of turning Golden Valley football into a competitive p

Posted: March 29, 2009 1:28 a.m.
Updated: March 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Andy Campbell understands that building the Golden Valley football program is a large undertaking.

After five years, the program hasn’t risen from the ground level, having gone 7-33 in four varsity seasons.

“My goals are really to transform the overall culture of Golden Valley football,” Campbell said. “Can I come out and guarantee we’ll win a Foothill League game next year? I can’t say that. But we will we be able to compete in the Foothill League, yeah.”

Just 29 years old, Campbell is not unfamiliar with this type of situation.

When he joined Silver Valley High School in Yermo as an assistant football coach in 2006, the Trojans were on a 16-game losing streak.

The next season, he took over as head football coach and the team went 4-6.

Last year, the Trojans were 7-5.

Campbell was hired to take over the football program at Golden Valley on March 20.

Part of his hope for a culture change includes a philosophical about-face.

There will be no tangible playbook for the Grizzlies, Campbell said. The players will learn football theory.

He wants his players to out-work every other team in the league.

That preparation, he said, will account for any shortcomings the Grizzlies may have on game day.

Everyone is fair game on the assistant coaching staff.

That means no previous Golden Valley football coach is guaranteed a job.

Campbell, a former strength and conditioning coach, will stress core strength.

Consider his philosophy on physicality to be strength over bulk.

Campbell is big on details.

“The little things are what make the big things better,” he said.

As for Campbell’s background, he was a high school football star in Minnesota at Sauk Rapids High.

He went to LSU to play football, but only lasted a summer.

Campbell said he played semi-pro football, then had a successful run as an offensive lineman at Valley City State University in North Dakota.

He takes over a Golden Valley team that went 3-7 in 2008, the program’s best-ever finish.

Over the span of four varsity years, Grizzlies football has had the dubious distinction of being one of the most troubled sports program in the valley, if not the most.

The team is now on its third head coach, after Rob Swartz and Steve Pinkston.

In its first varsity football year, many Golden valley football players struggled to remain academically eligible.

In 2006, the Grizzlies didn’t score a point in Foothill League play. The lowlight came Oct. 20 when Canyon defeated its same-town opponent 90-0.

That same year saw the Grizzlies end their junior varsity team’s season early as they didn’t have enough players in the program to compete at the varsity and JV levels.

Campbell hopes to finally be the beacon of hope for Golden Valley football.

“Kids who perennially lose or told they’re losers, it takes time to change that mentality,” Campbell said.

He added later: “After two years, we should see a noticeable difference.”

cosborne@the-signal.com

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