Campbell Fighting Camels and Lady Camels

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Campbell Fighting Camels
Lady Camels
University Campbell University
Conference Big South Conference
Coastal Collegiate Sports Association
Colonial Athletic Association
Pioneer Football League
Southern Conference (wrestling)
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Bob Roller
Location Buies Creek, North Carolina
Varsity teams 18
Football stadium Barker-Lane Stadium
Basketball arena John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center
Baseball stadium Jim Perry Stadium
Soccer stadium Eakes Athletics Complex
Mascot Gaylord the Camel
Nickname Fighting Camels and
Lady Camels
Fight song Campbell University Fight Song
Colors Black and Orange[1]

The Campbell University Fighting Camels and Lady Camels are the nicknames of the school's 18 teams that compete at the Division I level of the NCAA.


A member of the Big South Conference, Campbell sponsors teams in ten men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[2]

Men's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach Women's Intercollegiate Sports Team Article Head Coach
Baseball Fighting Camels baseball Justin Haire Basketball Ronny Fisher
Basketball Fighting Camels basketball Kevin McGeehan Cross Country Michael Kelly
Cross Country Michael Kelly Golf John Crooks
Football [v 1] Fighting Camels football Mike Minter Lacrosse Dawn Easley
Golf John Crooks Soccer Stuart Horne
Soccer Dustin Fonder Softball Todd Bradley
Tennis David Johnson Swimming & Diving [v 2] Pascal Molinard
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Michael Kelly Tennis David Johnson
Wrestling [v 3] Fighting Camels wrestling Cary Kolat Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Michael Kelly
Volleyball Greg Goral
  1. ^ The football team currently competes as a member of the Pioneer Football League, a non-scholarship Division I (FCS) league. It will join the Big South in 2018 and will start awarding football scholarships at that time.[3]
  2. ^ The swimming team competes as a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.
  3. ^ The wrestling team competes as an Associate member of the Southern Conference.

Conference history[edit]

The Fighting Camels and Lady Camels are full members of the Big South Conference. The University, however, fields teams as associate members of other conferences for sports the Big South doesn't sponsor. Campbell is an associate member of the Southern Conference for wrestling. The women's swimming team was formerly an associate member of the Northeast Conference until 2007 when Campbell became a charter member of the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association along with 11 other women's swimming programs as well as six men's swimming teams.[4] Campbell does not currently field a men's swimming team. The Fighting Camels football team began play in 2008 and is a member of the Pioneer Football League. Campbell launched a varsity women's lacrosse team in 2012-13.[5]

Campbell University became a four-year college in 1961 and began competing athletically in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). In 1977, the Fighting Camels program joined the NCAA Division I level. Campbell was a charter member of the Big South Conference in 1983, before leaving to join the Trans-America Athletic Conference, which is now the Atlantic Sun Conference, in 1994. Campbell returned to the Big South on July 1, 2011 and competes in all sports, except for football, wrestling, and women's swimming.[6] The school will join Big South football in 2018.[3]

Men's basketball[edit]

Campbell's basketball teams play their home games in the newly constructed, 3,100-seat John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center which opened in 2008 and replaced Carter Gymnasium.[7] Campbell's only conference championship at the Division I level occurred in 1992 when the Fighting Camels won the Big South Conference tournament held that year at the Civic Center of Anderson in Anderson, South Carolina. This win placed Campbell in the 1992 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament and 1992 is still the school's only NCAA appearance. The 16th seeded Fighting Camels were defeated by the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils in Greensboro, North Carolina 82-56.

Women's basketball[edit]

The Lady Camels have two conference championship seasons. Campbell won the Big South Conference tournament in 1989 defeating Radford University 58-53 in Radford, Virginia. Campbell also won the 2000 Atlantic Sun Conference championship, held in Pelham, Alabama by defeating Georgia State University 66-49, which earned the Lady Camels a 15th seed in the 2000 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship East Regional. However, Campbell lost in the opening round to the 2nd seeded Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Ronny Fisher is in his first season as the head coach of the Lady Camels in 2016-17, having taken over after Wanda Watkins' 35-year tenure on April 5, 2016.


The Fighting Camels baseball team plays its home games at the on-campus Jim Perry Stadium, which was known until 2012 as Taylor Field. Jim Perry was a baseball and basketball player at Campbell prior to playing in Major League Baseball and earning the 1970 American League Cy Young Award.[8] Campbell won the Big South Conference titles in 1988, 1990 and 2014. The last appearance by the Fighting Camels in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament was also in 2014 when the team played in the Columbia Regional in Columbia, South Carolina. Former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Perry played college ball for the Fighting Camels from 1955 to 1956. Jim's Hall of Fame brother, Gaylord, also went to Campbell from 1958 to 1960 but didn't play baseball. Karl Herrmann played for the Camels in the 1982-83 season then later went on to a New York Mets farm club. The Fighting Camels are now coached by Justin Haire.

Men's wrestling[edit]

The Fighting Camels wrestling team is an associate member of the Southern Conference. Wrestling was founded at Campbell in 1968 under the guidance of Gerald Brown. There have been 10 different coaches that directed the Camels over the past 40 years. The most notable coach would have to be Dave Auble. Auble (1999–2004) was a former U.S. Olympic wrestling coach. The most successful coach was Jerry Hartman. Hartman (1981–1988) had a record of 80-39 in his career as a head coach. The team is currently coached by former U.S. Olympian Cary Kolat. In 2017, the team achieved career highs with its first Southern Conference title and first All-American in Nathan Kraisser.


Campbell announced in April 2006 that the university would be restarting its football program for 2008. The Fighting Camels compete at the NCAA Division I FCS non-scholarship level. Campbell accepted an invitation to the Pioneer Football League and competes in PFL conference play.[9] Dale Steele was the first head coach of the Camels and coached from the 2008 season to the 2012 season. His best season was the 2011 Season in which the Camels finished 6-5. On November 27, 2012, Campbell University announced former University of Nebraska and Carolina Panthers standout, Mike Minter, as their new Head Football Coach.[10]

Track and field[edit]

The Fighting Camels track team is in the middle of having a new track facility constructed.[11]

The team has had some successful athletes and has had three athletes earn NCAA Division I All-America status:

  • Orville Peterson-decathlon (1980)
  • Ernie White-decathlon
  • Eric Bergemann-indoor high jump (2003)
  • Lawrence Kipkoech-outdoor 10000m (2015)

Along with the above athletes, more have qualified for the Division I national championships:

  • Heather Lee-cross country, 5000m (2007)
  • Alicia Valtin-3000m Steeplechase (2007)
  • Sam Tilly-outdoor long jump (2007, 2008)
  • Adoniss Jones-110m high hurdles (2010)[12]



Before 1934 Campbell's athletic teams were known as the "Hornets." Other early known nicknames for the program were simply reflective of the school name, like "Campbells" or "Campbellites." The origin of the name "Fighting Camels" is popularly believed to be derived from a statement by early school patron Zachary Taylor Kivett, who approached school founder James Archibald Campbell after a fire had destroyed the three then existing school buildings in 1900 and said, "Your name's Campbell; then get a hump on you! We've got work to do." Campbell thought Kivett said, "you're a camel, then get a hump on you!" The current Camel is named "Gaylord the Camel" after Campbell alum and Hall of Fame Baseball Player Gaylord Perry.

See also[edit]


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