Shepherd “Shep” Campbell has been named defensive football coordinator for the Ouachita Baptist University Tigers effective June 1, according to Head Coach Todd Knight. Campbell succeeds J.R. Eldridge who was named head football coach for the Arkadelphia High School Badgers after coaching nine years at Ouachita.
Knight also announced that John Johnson, a graduate assistant running backs coach, will become running backs coach as well as strength and conditioning coordinator.
The personnel changes follow three consecutive winning seasons for the Tigers. During that time, Ouachita has recorded a 63.9 percent winning percentage, the highest mark among all college football programs in Arkansas.
Campbell, who comes to Ouachita with 13 years of coaching experience, has been an assistant football coach with the University of Arkansas at Monticello, University of Tennessee at Martin and Lambuth University. He also was a graduate assistant coach at Baylor University, East Carolina University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Campbell’s high school coaching experience includes serving as an assistant football coach at Greene County Tech High School in Paragould and Sheridan High School. A graduate of Fayetteville High School and the University of Arkansas, he also played three years of college football at the University of Central Arkansas.
Campbell’s family has a strong coaching background. His father, Louis Campbell, is head coach at Sheridan High School and was a longtime college coach. Campbell’s, brother, Steadman, is an assistant coach at the University of North Alabama.
“I’m very excited about hiring Coach Shep Campbell as defensive coordinator,” Coach Knight said. “He brings a proven record of coaching success. He has a great way of relating with young men and will bring positive energy to our team and staff.
“His background brings coaching experience at every level that will pay off in the newly formed Great American Conference,” Knight added. “He has strong Arkansas ties that will be very beneficial with our in-state recruiting. I look forward to seeing the impact Coach Campbell will have on our program.”
Johnson, who has been on the OBU coaching staff for two years, is a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He played his final year of eligibility as a running back for Ouachita.
Knight noted that Johnson “has become a very respected coach on our staff. He will now take on more responsibility in the vital role of strength and conditioning coordinator.” He added that Johnson “is also the huddle leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes which is a vital part of the Ouachita athletic program.”
Concerning Eldridge’s new position with Arkadelphia High School, Knight said, “It’s a tough day when you lose such a quality person and proven leader in your program. J.R. has been a big part of our success. He has been an integral part of growing a strong program in the Gulf South Conference.
“What he was able to do with our strength program and defense will be greatly missed. His influence will be seen for many years,” Knight added. “On the flip side of that, I’m excited for the many young men who will have their lives touched by such a strong, positive influence and I know that J.R. will put our high school program in a position to compete for state championships while growing young men inside the Badger football program. This will be a winning situation for both Ouachita Baptist University and Arkadelphia High School.”
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications