GRAND JUNCTION, CO – Longtime Walters State baseball coach Ken Campbell was recently inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Hall of Fame.
Campbell was announced as a member of the Hall of Fame in 2020 but, due to COVID-19, was not officially inducted until the recent banquet at the JUCO World Series. Campbell went into the Hall of Fame with Lamar Community College’s Scott Crampton, Rick Hitt of South Florida State and Charlie O’Brien of Cecil College (Maryland) in the class of 2020 and Andrea Gordon of Diamond Sports, Doug Wabeke from Grand Rapids Community College, Rob Fournier of Wabash Valley and Jeff Johnson of Chipola from the class of 2022.
It’s the first time the banquet has been held since 2019. The moment was made even more special for Campbell as the Senators team and coaching staff were in attendance after qualifying for the 64th Alpine Bank Junior College World Series.
“I will cherish this for the rest of my life. To be recognized like this, you have to have great players and great coaches. And I was fortunate to have both,” Campbell said in his video address. “I was a head coach for 39 years at three different levels — high school, juco and Division I. And I can honestly say that the 14 years I coached at Walters State were more fun and enjoyable than any other time.”
Coaching the Walters State baseball team from 1999-2013, Campbell compiled a record of 650-162-1. In 2006, Campbell’s Senators team won the Junior College World Series, totaling a record of 61-8. Campbell was honored as the 2006 NJCAA Coach of the Year.
During his time with the Senators, Campbell’s teams won the regular season conference title nine times, claimed the conference tournament championship six times and earned five JUCO World Series berths in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2013.
Campbell’s teams won 40 games in 13 of the 15 seasons he was there and won at least 37 games every season. In 2010, Campbell was inducted into the Tennessee Junior and Community College Hall of Fame.
In 2016, Walters State honored Campbell by naming the baseball field after him.
As an athlete, Campbell was one of the first student-athletes to earn a scholarship to play baseball at ETSU, where he was an infielder for four years.
Before joining Walters State, Campbell was the head coach at ETSU for 10 seasons, taking the Bucs to seven 20-plus win seasons. He started his coaching career at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Fla. where he spent 15 seasons. Campbell compiled a 327-159 record there and coached former MLB players Tim Wakefield and Jeff Tam.
After making the Walters State program into a national powerhouse, Campbell retired in 2013, giving way to Dave Shelton, who was an assistant under Campbell for 11 years. Shelton has kept the momentum going that Campbell started, winning five regular season conference championships, five Region VII championships and making the World Series five times.
This season, the Senators are 57-5 and open up World Series play on Saturday as the No. 1 seed.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that Ken is receiving his much-deserved induction into the NJCAA Hall of Fame,” Shelton said in 2020 when Campbell was named to the Hall of Fame. “I had the honor to work under him for 11 years as an assistant. 10 of those here at Walters State, and he was such a great mentor to both the players who played for him and myself. I will forever be indebted to him for that mentorship, as well as for giving me the start of my coaching career.
“The success he had here at Walters State is unprecedented, and we work every day trying to uphold the tradition he instilled in the program. In my eyes, Ken has always been a Hall of Famer. Now it’s official.”