Former Walters State baseball coach Ken Campbell added to an already impressive resume on Thursday morning. Campbell was officially announced as a member of the 2020 NJCAA Baseball Hall of Fame class.
Scott Crampton of Lamar, Rick Hitt of South Florida State and Charles O’Brien of Cecil joined Campbell as new Hall of Fame inductees.
“It’s definitely a big honor,” Campbell said. “It’s a great honor to be recognized at the national level for all the hard work that you have put in during your coaching career. Coaching as long as I did, when something like this comes up, it’s a good feeling.
Coaching the Walters State baseball team from 1999-2013, Campbell compiled a record of 650-162-1. In 2006, Campbell’s Senators team won the Junior College World Series title, totaling a record of 61-8. Campbell was honored as the 2006 NJCAA Coach of the Year.
During his time with the Senators, Campbell’s teams won the regular season conference title nine times, claimed the conference tournament championship six times and earned five JUCO World Series berths in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013.
Campbell’s teams won 40 games in 12 of the 14 seasons he was there and won at least 37 games every season. In 2010, Campbell was inducted into the Tennessee Junior and Community College Hall of Fame.
In 2016, Walters State honored Campbell by naming the baseball field after him.
“To receive an award like this, you have to have had a lot of great players and assistant coaches, and I was fortunate enough to have both,” Campbell said. “Walters State was a great school, and the administration really supported us. Walters State athletics as a whole is on a national level. The baseball program is still going to the national tournament every year, and we credit all of that to the administration.”
As an athlete, Campbell was one of the first student-athletes to earn a scholarship to play baseball at ETSU, where he was an infielder for four years.
Before joining Walters State, Campbell was the head coach at ETSU for 10 seasons, taking the Bucs to seven 20-plus win seasons. He started his coaching career at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Fla. where he spent 15 seasons. Campbell compiled a 327-159 record there and coached former MLB players Tim Wakefield and Jeff Tam.
After making the Walters State program into a national powerhouse, Campbell retired in 2013, giving way for David Shelton, who was an assistant under Campbell for 11 years. Shelton has kept the momentum that Campbell started, winning four regular season conference championships, three Region VII championships and making the World Series three times.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that Ken is receiving his much-deserved induction into the NJCAA Hall of Fame,” Shelton said. “I had the honor to work under him for 11 years as an assistant. 10 of those here at Walters State, and he was such a great mentor to both the players who played for him and myself. I will forever be indebted to him for that mentorship, as well as for giving me the start of my coaching career.
“The success he had here at Walters State is unprecedented, and we work every day trying to uphold the tradition he instilled in the program. In my eyes, Ken has always been a Hall of Famer. Now it’s official.”
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We want to say a huge THANK YOU to this community for honoring us with this award. We couldn’t have achieved this without you. For the past 16 years, it has been our mission to help those in Hamblen County and the surrounding area to lead healthier and happier lives.
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