New AD and head football coach Compton looks to bring winning ways to Campbell
New Campbell High School football head coach and athletics director Preston Compton has a family connection to the university just 10 miles up State Highway 24.
Gary Compton, Preston’s father, played football for East Texas State University 1987-1990. Not only did the elder Compton play for the Lions, he also remains the school’s all-time leading receiver. Gary Compton still holds the school’s career records for receptions (181), receiving yards (3,041) and receiving touchdowns (30). A member of the Texas A&M University-Commerce Athletic Hall of Fame, Compton and his teammates on the 1990 Lions finished 10-3 while advancing to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs that year. Compton was a nominee for that year’s Harlon Hill Trophy, an annual award for the top player in NCAA Division II.
Preston Compton put together an impressive college career of his own. As a quarterback for Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, Compton set the school record for total passing yards (8,041) and single-game passing yards (501, vs. Central Methodist University on Sept. 23, 2017.) In high school football, Compton played his final two seasons at Denton Ryan, after getting started at Southlake Carroll.
Compton is new to the top job at Campbell, but not to the school itself. He served as defensive coordinator for last year’s team as well as baseball head coach. Compton has coached at Granbury and Cooper. He will continue to run the defense, while recent hire James Rigdon will take over as offensive coordinator. Rigdon has had success at the highest level of six-man football as recently as the 2022 season, when he was on staff at Benjamin, which finished a perfect 14-0 on their way to the Class A-II state title.
Last year, Campbell finished 3-7. The current Indians roster doesn’t have a single senior. But Campbell, a six-man team, is returning three starters on both offense and defense, so graduation didn’t leave the Indians unduly depleted. All-district center Nate Hall anchors Campbell, while all-district tight end Brayan Cruz sets the pace on the outside.
“We’re going to be young,” Compton said. “I’ve got a lot of coachable kids … these kids haven’t experienced winning in Campbell since they’ve been in high school. I’m looking to turn the program around.”
Compton’s experience in and around successful high school programs should help, he said.
“I’ve been through a ton of positive programs, I was coached by Hal Wasson at Southlake Carroll, where we won the state title in 2011,” Compton said. “And then at Denton Ryan, Joey Florence was my head coach, he’s now the AD at Denton. At Cooper, I was around a whole bunch of guys who won state at Gunter, and I’m looking to bring that positive culture over here.”
The Indians compete in the four-team District 10-1A D1, composed of Campbell along with Saint Jo, Savoy, and Gilmer Union Hill. In 2022, Union Hill went unbeaten in district and 11-1 overall, while Saint Jo (8-3, 2-1) finished a solid second. Campbell (1-2 in district) and Savoy (1-2, 4-6) are looking to bring more parity to the district this fall.
“We can achieve some winning here, and I’m excited about it,” Compton said. “I have three core values in this program – love, discipline, and mental toughness. A leader is a person who shows those three things – that loves their teammates, shows discipline on the field, and shows mental toughness when times are hard.”
The Indians begin the 2023 season on Aug. 25 with a home game against Fannindel.