Campbell Fighting Camels and Lady Camels

The Campbell Fighting Camels and Campbell Lady Camels represent Campbell University and are the nicknames of the school's 19 teams that compete at the Division I level of the NCAA.

Campbell Fighting Camels and Lady Camels
UniversityCampbell University
ConferenceBig South Conference
Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (swimming & diving)
Southern Conference (wrestling)
NCAADivision I
Athletic directorOmar Banks
LocationBuies Creek, North Carolina
Varsity teams19
Football stadiumBarker-Lane Stadium
Basketball arenaJohn W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center
Baseball stadiumJim Perry Stadium
Soccer stadiumEakes Athletics Complex
  • Gaylord the Camel
  • Gladys the Camel
  • Fighting Camels
  • Lady Camels
Fight songCampbell University Fight Song
ColorsBlack and Orange[1]


A member of the Big South Conference, Campbell sponsors teams in nine men's and ten 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 Lady Camels basketball Ronny Fisher
Basketball Fighting Camels basketball Kevin McGeehan Cross Country Michael Kelly
Cross Country Michael Kelly Golf John Crooks
Football Fighting Camels football Mike Minter Lacrosse Dawn Easley
Golf John Crooks Soccer Samar Azem
Soccer Dustin Fonder Softball Sharonda McDonald
Tennis David Johnson Swimming & Diving [v 1] Pascal Molinard
Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Michael Kelly Tennis Mike Stevens
Wrestling [v 2] Fighting Camels wrestling Cary Kolat Track & Field (Indoor & Outdoor) Michael Kelly
Volleyball Greg Goral
  1. The swimming team competes as a member of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association.
  2. The wrestling team competes as an Associate member of the Southern Conference.

Conference history

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 and diving 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.[3] 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 Big South Conference. Campbell launched a varsity women's lacrosse team in 2012-13.[4]

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 wrestling and women's swimming and diving.[5]

Men's basketball

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.[6] 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

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 fourth season as the head coach of the Lady Camels in 2019-20, 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.[7] Campbell won the Big South Conference titles in 1988, 1990, 2014, 2018 and 2019. The last appearance by the Fighting Camels in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament was also in 2019 when the team played in the Greenville Regional in Greenville, North 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

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, five NCAA qualifiers, and the school's 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 level as a member of the Big South Conference beginning in the 2018 season. 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.[8]

Track and field

The team has had some successful athletes and has had seven athletes earn All-America status:

  • Orville Peterson - Decathlon (1980)
  • Ernie White - Decathlon (1983, 1984)
  • Eric Bergemann - Indoor High Jump (2003)
  • Lawrence Kipkoech - Outdoor 10,000m (2015, 2018); Indoor 5,000m (2016, 2018); Indoor 10,000m (2016); Outdoor 5,000m (2018)
  • Amon Terer - Indoor 5,000m (2016, 2017); Indoor 10,000m (2016); Indoor 3,000m (2017); Outdoor 5,000m (2017)
  • Amon Kemboi - Indoor 5,000m (2018, 2019); Indoor 3,000m (2019); Outdoor 5,000m (2018)
  • Sabina Allen - Indoor Triple Jump (2018); Outdoor Triple Jump (2018)

In addition to its track and field All-Americans, Campbell has also had three cross country All-Americans in program history:

  • Amon Terer - 2016
  • Lawrence Kipkoech - 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Amon Kemboi - 2017, 2018



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!"

See also


  1. "Color Palette | Campbell University". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  2. "Campbell Athletics". Campbell University. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  3. Campbell University Becomes Charter Member of Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (accessed July 12, 2007)
  4. Campbell University set to add Women's Lacrosse in 2012-13
  5. Campbell to return to Big South Conference, article in The Fayetteville Observer (accessed May 14, 2009)
  6. John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center / Gilbert Craig Gore Arena Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (accessed December 12, 2009)
  7. " Campbell Announces Jim Perry Baseball Stadium Plans". Campbell Fighting Camels. November 12, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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