FLINTON — Mother, grandmother, coach, mentor, cancer survivor.
Glendale’s Beth Campbell can be labeled with all of those terms, but the one of the biggest is coach.
Campbell has been coaching for 33 years. She started coaching when she was a teenager and her nephews needed a basketball coach. Her career has spanned several sports, including basketball, softball and soccer at the high school level. She has also coached Division I and Division III college softball teams.
Currently Glendale girls varsity basketball coach and the varsity softball coach, Campbell has also coached at Grace Prep and Altoona. She has amassed a 65-28 record in basketball, along with a 26-22 record in softball and a 10-5 mark in soccer.
Campbell sat down and took the time to answer questions for our fifth installment of our new series spotlighting Progressland high school coaches in all sports.
The reason I enjoy coaching is ... I started coaching because I have always loved sports. Every aspect of them: Playing, coaching, officiating and watching. One of the most rewarding things about coaching sports to me is when previous players keep in touch and share how something they learned in sports helped them be successful. I also love it when someone I coached becomes a coach because I know they are sharing their passion.
The hardest thing about coaching is ... The hardest thing about coaching is the constantly changing culture. Coaching today looks very different than it did three decades ago. We live in a society where everything is at your fingertips and everyone wants instant success. Sports require a long term goal and the conviction to stick with it even through failure. You have to get real creative to get the players and parents to buy in to your program through the less successful times.
The biggest reason I continue to coach is ... I keep coaching because I believe that what you learn in sports is invaluable in being successful in life. When I had cancer, a doctor told me they were able to treat me with the most aggressive treatment because of my personality and that they knew I wouldn’t give up. I credit that with my years in youth sports and learning to work hard for a future goal and not quitting despite the challenges. Ultimately, I coach because I know these girls will have challenges in life and the most important thing to me is helping them develop skills to overcome those challenges.
My real job off the court is ... Outside of coaching I substitute teach and officiate for the PIAA. Both jobs are very flexible, a very important thing when you are a coach.
The person(s) who influenced me to get into coaching ... The person I would say influenced me the most to go in to coaching was Bill Smith, my softball coach at Altoona. He recognized that I had a desire to really learn the sport and he took the time to talk to me about strategy and coaching. The other person I would say influenced me the most would be Jennifer Patrick Swift. She was the head coach at Saint Francis when I was an assistant coach there. She taught me so much about coaching softball and pretty much everything I do in that sport today is learned from her.
My favorite team/season or game that stands out me is ... Over 30 years of coaching I have had many great memories. One season that stands out to me was my first year coaching basketball at Grace Prep in State College. They were a very tight knit team who all worked very hard and had pleasure in each other’s success. The year before they had only won three games and they were convinced they couldn’t win, but they really bought into hard work and team effort and went 20-6 that year. Another memory that stands out at Glendale was the girls winning a playoff game last year. It was a goal and everyone was so excited to reach it.
Has coaching during the COVID-19 pandemic changed your coaching style ... We started practices on January 20, so I am not sure yet how much will change, but I believe it will be a lot. Only having 10 hour and a half practices before our games will mean we can’t do a normal preseason. We are also far behind the other schools and when we start games, they will already have 5-6 games under their belt and we will be playing 14 games in 27 days. Where as previous years my goals were things like have a .500 record and win a playoff game, this year our goals will center on getting better everyday, having a great attitude and every player giving 100% all the time. I don’t know what our record will look like at the end of the year, but I know just getting on the court will be the real victory.
My favorite thing outside of coaching is ... When I am not coaching sports I enjoy spending time with my daughters and grandchildren, traveling and fishing.