Archive for Saturday, January 14, 2012

‘Big D’-fense: Ex-Dallas Cowboys coach Campo to head Weis’ defense

In this file photo from July 27, 2008, former Dallas Cowboys secondary coach Dave Campo organizes drills during Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Kansas University announced on Friday that Campo will serve as defensive coordinator under new KU coach Charlie Weis.

In this file photo from July 27, 2008, former Dallas Cowboys secondary coach Dave Campo organizes drills during Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Kansas University announced on Friday that Campo will serve as defensive coordinator under new KU coach Charlie Weis.

January 14, 2012


New Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis reached into the NFL to hire a defensive coordinator, and his choice comes highly recommended from a man who knows how to win the ultimate prize in college and professional football.

KU announced Friday that Weis hired Dave Campo from the Dallas Cowboys, where he spent three years as the head coach (2000-02) and had been in charge of the secondary since 2008.

“They’re damn lucky to get one like him, I promise ya,” former Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer said, by telephone, of the man who coordinated his defense to a Super Bowl title in 1996. “He’s done an excellent job everywhere he’s been, and I think he’ll do a great job at Kansas.”

Campo, 64, comes to KU with a resume similar to that of his new boss, Weis. During a coaching career that began in 1971 at Central Connecticut State, Campo coached 23 seasons in the NFL, including three years as the Cowboys head coach and two stints as a defensive coordinator.

His first opportunity to be an NFL defensive coordinator came in Dallas — the city in which he worked 18 of his 23 pro seasons — but it did not come without a fight. Following the 1994 season, Switzer, who took over for Jimmy Johnson, lost defensive coordinator Butch Davis and was looking for a replacement. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had identified a defensive consultant from Houston as the man he wanted to hire, but Switzer went to bat for Campo.

“I said, ‘Uh-uh,’” Switzer recalled. “’I’m gonna tell you the best coach in that room is a guy named Dave Campo.’ And I said, ‘That’s the guy that we’re hiring. He’s the guy that gets it done. And he’s the guy that is the best qualified to be defensive coordinator.’ That’s how it happened. I convinced Jerry that he was the guy.”

Five seasons and one world championship later, Campo was elevated to head coach, replacing Chan Gailey, who took over for Switzer in 1998.

In terms of overall record, Campo’s time as Dallas’ head coach was less than memorable. The Cowboys fired Campo in 2002 after he went 5-11 in three consecutive seasons. However, his disappointing run in charge of “America’s Team” did nothing to change his popularity.

“His image is a very positive image,” said Dallas-based WFAA-TV sports anchor Dale Hansen. “Almost every story from people in the media or around the organization began with, ‘I really like Dave Campo, but...’ and then they’d go on to talk about the fact that he lost. Campo is absolutely well-liked and well-respected as a defensive coach. The bottom line is, I think Kansas got a good coach, and I would argue that they got a better guy.”

For the past nine seasons, Campo has returned to his roots as an assistant coach. After two seasons as Cleveland’s DC under Davis (2003-04), Campo moved to Jacksonville, where he coached the Jags’ secondary (2005-07). In 2008, he returned to Dallas to coach the Cowboys’ secondary. Many who have spent time around him said Campo seems most at home away from the head coach’s headset.

“Campo is the classic assistant coach,” Hansen said. “I don’t think he had the make-up of what I perceive a head coach to be — the granite-jawed Vince Lombardi. But people who know Campo the best will tell you that this is a man who loves to coach young people.”

Prior to cracking the NFL in 1989, Campo coached 18 seasons of college football, with his stops including Pittsburgh, Washington State, Oregon State, Iowa State, Syracuse and Miami, Fla. It’s those years, along with Campo’s passion for young people, that led Hansen to believe Campo would be a great fit at KU.

“He just likes to coach,” Hansen said. “And knowing Dave, after all of his years in the NFL, where it is such a chew-em-up, grind-em-up, hardcore business, he strikes me as the kind of guy who wants to be involved in the development of a young man’s life as much as the ‘Can you make a tackle when they try to run a sweep on third-and-five.’”

Campo’s strong ties to the Dallas area should help keep KU relevant in one of its most important recruiting areas.

“I think it absolutely will,” Hansen said. “A high school kid in Texas is going to know Dave Campo. When Dave Campo walks in the room, probably wearing one or two of his Super Bowl rings, they’re going to immediately recognize him through his association with the Dallas Cowboys.”

In addition to winning it all in 1996 as Switzer’s defensive coordinator, Campo coached the secondary when Johnson won back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994.

Campo’s extensive NFL background has positioned him well to lead the Jayhawks’ defense, both in an individual capacity and as a unit. With his defensive coordinator in place, Weis now must hire just one more coach to complete his staff — a defensive assistant. It is believed that Campo will have most of the say in filling that position.

When Weis was introduced in early December, he said he wanted his defensive coordinator to be an organized man with experience, confidence and the ability to handle the defense without needing guidance from the head coach. Campo appears to be the perfect fit.

“When I think about it, Dave knows every position,” Switzer said. “He can coach any position on defense. He spent too many hours and looked at too many tapes of too many players to not be any good at it.”


phoggyjay 6 years, 1 month ago

The pieces are falling into place. Excited about the upcoming football season!

drillsgt 6 years, 1 month ago

Now alot of talented players across the country will be looking at KU.......Now put the Jayhawk back on the helmet........

jaywalker 6 years, 1 month ago


What a staff!

okiedave 6 years, 1 month ago

Certainly nobody can accuse KU athletics of age discrimination.

audvisartist 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm tempted to buy season tickets now. It's ridiculous how excited I am for KU football!

Larry 6 years, 1 month ago

Agreed! Bring the Jayhawk back to the helmet!

lionheart72661 6 years, 1 month ago

Awesome! I have always like Dave Campo! Bring on the 2012 season!

fan4kufootball 6 years, 1 month ago

Yes - we want the names back on the jerseys !!!!

fan4kufootball 6 years, 1 month ago

This is such good news - every step from the hiring of Zenger to present. It has always seemed that KU Football has been the step child within KU Athletics (dont get me wrong I love basketball too!) and its about time that the football program get the same attention.

Go Hawks!

Gregory Newman 6 years, 1 month ago

Recruit California and quit picking up Texas residue. Current roster is not the best of Texas? We will see if this staff can turn dung to sugar

Enoughsaid 6 years, 1 month ago

What's the big deal, KU hired someone who was getting fired. It's sounds to me we hired a Hasbeen who was good it his time, way back when. Why not hire some young staff full of energy who doesn't have one foot in the grave. Its seem this is how we just got our current coach who will proably follow Turner Gill in two years.

slider88 6 years, 1 month ago

Smoke and mirrors....big names don't always equal success. Proof will be on the field.

drnater 6 years, 1 month ago

Darrian Miller is officially transferring from KU, via his twitter. "Thanks to everyone ive met over the past years and all the big homies who taught me..but I am officially no longer a Kansas Jayhawk."

6 years, 1 month ago

If this is true that is a loss. He had potential.

drnater 6 years, 1 month ago

It is true, but we just got Taylor Cox to commit today, so thats a big pickup. Were still deep at rb reguardless.

drillsgt 6 years, 1 month ago

He had no grades and didnt want to work at them..he was soft anyway..let him go play mid america

6 years, 1 month ago

Campo? As long as it took them to announce a D coach I sure thought it would have been someone who was either young and moving up or an existing D coach. But Campo ... a D-back coach since 2008 sure doesn't sound all that great. If he were a great football genius one would have thought he would have been picked up by someone since 2008. He might be a "nice" guy - where have we hear this comment.

Don't know - not sure with him as a D coach that KU is going to improve that much on the field. Might score a few more points but so far ... on the D side of the ball just don't see that much improvement. Better start addint some quality players.

drnater 6 years, 1 month ago

He was loyal to the Cowboys. He coached there for 18 years, 3 as the HC, 5 as a d-coordinator, and 10 as the db/assistant coach. He won a Super Bowl his first year as the d-coordinator for them. He'll do fine, he's been successful in both college and pros.

coolhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

Jayhawk on the helmets, names on the jerseys, please.

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