Campbell named head football coach

December 13, 2011 | News, UToday
By Paul Helgren

University of Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced Monday night that Interim Head Football Coach Matt Campbell will assume the head coaching position on a permanent basis.

Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O'Brien, right, introduced Matt Campbell as Toledo's new head football coach Monday night.

Campbell was named interim head coach Dec. 9, replacing Tim Beckman who resigned to become the head coach at the University of Illinois. Campbell becomes the 26th head football coach in the 91-year history of Toledo football.

“We are very pleased that Matt Campbell has agreed to become the head football coach at The University of Toledo,” O’Brien said. “There is no doubt that Matt has done a terrific job in his three years as our offensive coordinator. The performance of our offense speaks for itself. But I have also been very impressed with Matt as a person and as a leader of young men. He is quite simply a very exceptional football coach and I believe the best person to lead this program going forward. We are very excited for the future of Rocket football under Matt’s guidance.”

“I’m honored to become the next head football coach at The University of Toledo,” Campbell said. “I would like to thank Mike O’Brien and President Lloyd Jacobs for giving me this opportunity. I would also like to thank Tim Beckman, the Rocket coaching staff, and most of all the young men on this football team who have helped me reach my goal of becoming a head football coach.

“Finally, I would like to thank my parents and my wife, Erica, for all their love and support in helping make this day possible,” he said.

Campbell will get his first chance to coach the Rockets Wednesday, Dec. 28, vs. Air Force in the Military Bowl in Washington, D.C.

“I’m looking forward to the work ahead of us,” Campbell said. “We have an important bowl game to play on Dec. 28, as well as a recruiting class to sign and a coaching staff to hire. But most of all we need to get to work on our ultimate goal of bringing a MAC championship back to Toledo.”

Campbell, 32, is now the youngest head football coach in Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. He served three seasons as the Rockets’ offensive coordinator, and also was responsible for coaching the offensive line. The Rockets currently rank eighth in the nation in total offense (493.2) and scoring offense (42.3) this season, as well as third in fewest turnovers (12). The Rockets’ offense gained the national spotlight when it scored more than 60 points in consecutive games for the first time in school history: 60 points vs. Northern Illinois Nov. 1 and 66 vs. Western Michigan Nov. 8.

The Rockets’ offense also features one of the most exciting players in the country, junior wide receiver Eric Page. Page ranks third in the nation in receptions with 112 and is a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. He made first-team All-MAC at three positions: wide receiver, punt returner and kickoff returner.

Campbell also mentored an offensive line that ranks sixth in the nation with just nine sacks allowed this season, and features two All-MAC players, Mike VanDerMeulen (first team) and Zac Kerin (second team).

Campbell played a big role in Toledo’s resurgence in 2010, a season that saw the Rockets go 8-5 and make their first bowl appearance in five years. Under Campbell, the Rockets ranked third in the Mid-American Conference in both scoring and total offense. Page was third in the MAC in receptions with 99, and earned numerous All-America honors as a kickoff returner. Running back Adonis Thomas rushed for 1,098 yards and led the conference with 6.3 yards per carry. Campbell also led a very effective offensive line, including junior tackle Mike VanDerMeulen, a third-team All-MAC selection.

In 2009, Campbell helped guide UT to the 16th-ranked offense in the country (437.9 yards per game), despite losing senior quarterback Aaron Opelt to injury midway through the season. The Rockets also ranked No. 1 in fourth-down conversions (80.0 percent) and No. 18 in passing yards (278.1). Four Rockets earned All-MAC honors, while Page led the nation in receptions by a freshman and was named first-team Freshman All-America by Phil Steele and the College Football News.

Campbell has earned national attention for his recruiting, as well. named him a “top recruiter” in 2011. Campbell was one of nine coaches from non-automatic qualifying schools in the Bowl Championship Series to make the list, and the only one from the Mid-American Conference. Toledo’s 2011 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the MAC by both and

Prior to his service at UT, Campbell served as an assistant coach at Bowling Green for two seasons, one as the offensive line coach (2007) and one as the offensive line coach/running game coordinator (2008). The Falcons participated in the GMAC Bowl in the 2007 season.

Campbell began his coaching career as the offensive graduate assistant at Bowling Green in 2003 and 2004, working with the tight ends for teams that won the 2003 Motor City Bowl and 2004 GMAC Bowl. He then spent two years as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Mount Union.

A 2002 graduate of Mount Union, Campbell was a member of five national championship teams as a coach and player for the Purple Raiders. He was a two-time first-team All-American and was voted as the Ohio Athletic Conference’s Best Defensive Lineman in 2001 and 2002. He was a vital member of three Mount Union teams that won national titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. During his career at Mount Union, he had 207 tackles, 49 tackles for loss and 22 sacks. Campbell also excelled in the classroom, earning CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. In his final two years of his stay at Mount Union, Campbell was the offensive coordinator on a team that won back-to-back national titles.

A native of Massillon, Ohio, Campbell attended Perry High School. He and his wife, Erica, have two daughters, Katelyn, 3, and Isabella, 2.

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