May 17, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Saddleback alum Glenn Campbell has high hopes for Roadrunners football program

Glenn Campbell is excited about being the new football coach at Saddleback. (Photo courtesy Saddleback High)

Former Saddleback High football standout Glenn Campbell is returning to his alma mater as head football coach and has high hopes of helping the Roadrunners return to their glory days.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” he said this week. “I’m glad that the athletic director Rob Thompson is giving me the opportunity to come and help change the culture in Saddleback football,” Campbell said this week.

Campbell said he plans on reaching out to the community and to the Saddleback alumni.

“”I’m looking forward to community support and for the alumni to come out and support their brothers, whether you’re 10 years removed, whether you’re 20 years removed, 30 years removed, 40 years removed…you’re still a Roadrunner,” he said.

Campbell, 51, played for former Coach Jerry Witte from 1982 to 1985. He was a three-year starter and played running back and linebacker. The Roadrunners won two league titles and a CIF championship in 1985 while Campbell was there.

“Those were really good years,” Campbell said.

Campbell, who most recently an assistant coach at Tesoro, will take over a program that has struggled in recent years. The Roadrunners were 1-9 last year and 3-7 in 2018. But Campbell said he intends on turning the program around.

Campbell said he is aware that many of the Saddleback players are going through the same challenges he faced while going there.

“I went to high school there, I’m really fond of the area as well as the type of players who are there,” he said. “I came from a home with a single parent, my mom worked all the time and I found my head coach at the time, Jerry Witte, was that father figure that I needed as far as the consistency and the guiidance. A passion and love for the game, as well as the community is one of the main reasons why I came back.

“And I believe in my abilities of effectively communicating and mentoring through the game of football that I love and I’m passionate about and I’m excited to be the head coach at the school that I went and played for and that I’ve always supported since I’ve been gone.”

Campbell said he has ideas on how to turn the program around.

“One of the biggest things is caring,” he said. “Once you win with the kids, that’s the biggest W right there. What I’ve learned through my years of coaching high school is that if you show you care, they’re going to move rocks and mounds and buildings for you. I think that brings that camradery together and teamwork to where you’re in the trenches and when it doesn’t look like you’re going to win, you pull together as a team and that brotherhood and family environment will always prevail you to get that win.

“I think was one of the problems that Saddleback has had over the years is I don’t think the kids believed that they could win every game.”

Campbell also had coaching stints with Bruce Rollinson at Mater Dei for three years. Then he left to join Matt Poston when he took the Capistrano Valley job. He coached there for three years then joined Poston when he took the Tesoro job for three years. Then Campbell went to Servite before going to Servite as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator.

“After that, I decided I missed my community, I missed the Tesoro fan base and the community and I went back to Tesoro and at that point I was the JV head coach, the varsity special teams coordinator, the varsity secondary coach and I was instrumental in the defensive decisions until I decided to leave a week ago,” Campbell said.

Campbell believes the experiences will help him at Saddleback, although he’s still in the planning stages.

“At this point, i don’t know if we’re going to be a spread or a power team,” he said. “I know we’re going to be a disciplined, hard-nosed never quit team. Whatever defense and offense we have we’re going to be pretty much dialed in.”

He is appreciative of the support he has received from other coaches, including Poston at Tesoro.

“I appreciated the opportunity he’s given me on multiple occasions, I appreciate the values that he’s given me as a coach…… I appreciate the commnunity support and the players who have come and gone. I’m going to miss those guys, the parents and the fans. I may be gone, but I’m not forgotten as well as I won’t forget them. I had a great experience with Tesoro and those are memories I will always carry along as a person.”

Campbell said his “great, blended family” includes his two daughters Jalyn and Jordyn and his girl friend Christina and her two children, Colin and Katlyn.

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com