December 5, 2013

Historic Hiring: Campbell named first REDBLACKS coach

Scott Grant/Ottawa RedBlacks Staff

OTTAWA — The Ottawa REDBLACKS have found their man. The expansion CFL franchise announced Friday at a news conference that they have named Rick Campbell the first-ever Head Coach in club history.

This is Campbell’s first head coaching position in the CFL after spending the majority of the last 14 years as an assistant coach in Calgary and Edmonton.

“I’d like to thank Marcel Desjardins, Jeff Hunt and the OSEG ownership for this incredible opportunity,” said Campbell.  “I’d also like to thank Coach John Hufnagel in Calgary and the other coaches and players I’ve worked with and learned from over the years. 

Campbell’s Coaching History

2012-2013 – Calgary Stampeders (CFL) – Defensive Coordinator
2011 – Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) – Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
2010 – Calgary Stampeders (CFL) – Running Backs Coach
2009 – Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) – Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
2005-08 – Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) – Defensive Coordinator
1999-2004 – Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) – Defensive Secondary/Special Teams Coordinator
1996-98 – University of Oregon (NCAA) – Graduate Assistant – Defensive Secondary/Special Teams

“Right now my top priority is to help Marcel, Brock (assistant general manager Brock Sunderland), Jeremy (pro/college scout Jeremy Snyder) and Miles (scout Miles Gorrell) prepare for the expansion draft and a very busy off-season.  After that, it’s creating an environment for players and other coaches that’s all about football, establishing our team identity and winning games.”

Campbell was most recently the defensive coordinator of the Stampeders where he led one of the league’s top set of defenders. In 2013, Campbell’s defence finished in a tie for second with the most interceptions (22) and two of his pass rushers finished in the Top 3 in quarterback sacks (Charleston Hughes and Cordarro Law).  His defence also gave up the second-fewest amount of points with 413.

Under Campbell’s tutelage Calgary’s defence produced West Division All-Stars and Hughes was named a league All-Star this week.

Campbell’s first stint with the Stamps came in 2010 when he was the running backs coach and guided the team’s powerful ground attack that led the CFL with 2,618 rushing yards.

“Rick is a coach who earned this opportunity,” said REDBLACKS General Manager Marcel Desjardins.  “He started coaching at the university level and then, over the next 15 years, served as a CFL assistant coach on offence, defense and special teams.  Rick did it right, learning his craft from some very good football men and I’m delighted to welcome him to the REDBLACKS organization.”

In 2011, Campbell assumed the role of assistant head coach and special teams coordinator with the Edmonton Eskimos. That season the Eskimo cover teams were among the best in the league and the Esks’ finished first in the league in net punting. Of the 13 seasons that Campbell has coached in the CFL, 10 have been spent with the Eskimos.

“This is an historic day in the history of our franchise,” said Jeff Hunt, President of OSEG Sports.  “Rick Campbell will become the everyday face of the franchise and the man who’ll set the tone for how we play on the field.  I can hardly wait for opening day in our beautiful new stadium, cheering on the REDBLACKS with 24,000 of my best friends and neighbours.”

Campbell started his CFL coaching career in 1999 as Edmonton’s special teams and linebackers coach. By 2004, Rick held the team’s defensive coordinator position and his defences consistently led the league in several key categories.

Campbell won two Grey Cups with the Eskimos in 2003 and 2005.

Rick spent the 2009 season Winnipeg Blue Bombers, followed by one season in Calgary and, finally, the 2011 campaign back in Edmonton.

He was a coach at the University of Oregon from 1996-98 where he worked with the Ducks’ defensive secondary. In 1994-95, he was a teacher and coach with the football and baseball teams at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane.