SPORTS >> New Lonoke basketball coach has history of winning
Lonoke High School wasted little time in filling the head basketball coach’s position left vacant by former coach Wes Swift, who resigned last month to take over at Jonesboro.
Dean Campbell, who has been a varsity assistant and junior high coach the past three years, was named the new head coach by athletic director Mark Hobson.
Campbell has an extensive resume, including a stint as head coach at Central Arkansas Christian from 2002-04. He did his graduate work at Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Mo., from 1994-97 before joining the staff as an assistant at Coffeeville Community College in Kansas. He worked at West Texas A & M as a women’s assistant for two years before moving to CAC, which shared a conference with Swift and the Jackrabbits. He worked for two years in the Pulaski County Special School District before making the move to Lonoke.
He was able to take the Mustangs from a nine-year drought in state tournament berths to the 3A tourney in his second season.
“I think I know what it takes to put a program that has hasn’t been successful and get it going on the right track again,” said Campbell. “But I’m in a situation where Lonoke has a long tradition, and it’s been a smooth transition for the kids. That’s the most important part.”
A Kansas native, Campbell began his college-playing career at Coffeyville for two years as a shooting guard before finishing at Whalen Baptist in Texas. He grew up in the community of Tyro and attended high school at Caney Valley.
His marriage to Jacksonville native DeAnna 17 years ago brought him to Arkansas. They have two children, 10-year-old Regan and Riley, 6.
Campbell joined the Lonoke staff in 2006.
“We competed against Lonoke, and through talking with coach Swift, I learned that they had a position open,” Campbell said.
“It was a good opportunity for me to be able to coach a junior high team and still be able to work with a high-school team.”
For A.D. Hobson, the choice was a no-brainer.
“We didn’t open the job,” said Hobson, who also had to replace departing football coach Jeff Jones with Doug Bost in March. “We liked the job that coach Campbell has done with our junior high program enough that we thought he was the best guy for the job. It’s not over, we still have to replace his position, and we also have to fill a position for girls assistant coach.”
Campbell said he and Swift enjoyed a good chemistry, though the two have different demeanors.
“As far as disciple, kids playing hard and being as fundamental as you can be, I will try to continue that style,” said Campbell.
“I’m not as fiery as coach Swift, but he and I were a good mix. His knowledge of defense and my offensive approach worked together well, and I think he knew that ahead of time. It also led to a lifetime relationship for both of us.
“He is excited. I’ve never seen him as intense and motivated. I think it will be a good marriage between him and the Jonesboro program.”