Former men’s rowing head coach headed to national team

If you’re looking for an impressive coaching resumé at UVic, look no further than UVic’s former men’s rowing head coach Howard Campbell. He’s won five national championships in his 23-year tenure at UVic, he’s coached 17 student athletes to the Olympics, and he’s been a coach for Canada’s National Rowing Team. There isn’t much that Campbell hasn’t done in terms of coaching, but he’s hoping to help Team Canada take the lead on the Olympic podium in the near future, something Campbell has yet to attempt. Campbell has been at the helm of the men’s rowing program at UVic for over 20 years, and he’s shaped the program to strive for success and hard work. Campbell has found the profession of coaching to be “just constant renewal, both personally and with any group you’re with.” Year after year, Campbell has mentored UVic rowers and led them to success. With the program in good standing and in good hands, Campbell has decided to step down and move on to the Canadian national team. Although, there’s no doubt that Campbell has been the face of the UVic men’s rowing program for decades and his legacy at UVic will be remembered. Campbell has mentored veteran rower Will O’Connell for the past four and a half years, and O’Connell has nothing but positive things to say about his head coach. “He’s great,” O’Connell says. “He’s a pretty dominant personality.” Campbell’s passion for rowing seems unmatched among his peers, and his rowers feed off that passion. “His energy is what sets him apart from other coaches,” says O’Connell. “He’s so emotional and it really takes over the team.” O’Connell remembers his first encounter with Campbell. “We all sat in a room for the first meeting of the year, and he addressed us and basically told all of the freshmen ‘Most of you are going to leave,’ and basically, ‘I’m going to breathe fire and if you can’t take it, get out.’” O’Connell, who had been a rookie at the time, says that he’s really improved as a rower under Campbell and credits a lot of his changes and success to his head coach. Although Campbell has been known to have a tough-love streak, many rowers also say that he has a soft spot. “I’ve been called demanding,” Campbell says, “but I’ve also been called inspirational.” O’Connell recalls a time, two years ago in Shawnigan Lake, when Campbell sat for an hour and told a long story about his passion for rowing that sparked the team and really inspired the students. “Without him ever formally saying it, he was proud of us,” O’Connell says. “It was inspiring.” Although Campbell does have a hard-nosed style of coaching, Campbell is still able to connect with his rowers and motivate them to win. “I still love [coaching] as much as I did the day I started doing it,” Campbell says. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to do something I love doing for my whole life.” Campbell will continue to mentor and teach rowers across the nation, something he’s always loved to do. Campbell’s   determination   to achieve success has led his teams to five Canadian University Championship Titles and has also landed him a spot on the Canadian national team. “My ambition will always be to see UVic do very well,” Campbell says. “[The program] is in a very good state and there is a solid group of athletes.” Campbell’s style of coaching, mixed in with his determination to succeed, has helped form some of Canada’s greatest rowers; Campbell seems to breed success, for his rowers and his team. Campbell’s legacy will last here at UVic, and the renowned coach says he’ll never forget his time at UVic either. Campbell now heads into the next chapter of his coaching career, hoping to continue his success at the national level.

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