Bill Campbell, who spent eight years as Sacramento State’s head women’s tennis coach (1999-2006), completed his 10th season as the Director of Tennis for both the men’s and women’s programs in 2016.
During his 10 seasons as director of tennis, Campbell has overseen two of the more successful programs on campus as the Hornet men’s and women’s teams have combined to win 16 conference championships over that time frame. That includes the women accounting for 39 all-conference selections and seven MVP awards. Not to be outdone, the men’s program has accounted for 31 all-conference selections and six MVPs during that same time period. In addition, the women’s program won 112 straight matches against Big Sky competition, a streak that lasted nearly 13 years from 2002-2014. The streak was the longest by any team from any sport in Big Sky Conference history, and is believed to be the longest in NCAA Div. I tennis history.
During his eight-year tenure as the women’s head coach, he guided the team from the bottom to the top of the Big Sky Conference standings. In Campbell’s first year as head coach, Sacramento State posted a record of 1-15 in 1999. Since the 1999 season, however, the Hornets vastly improved to 5-15 in 2000, 11-10 in 2001, 20-4 in 2002, 16-8 in 2003, 23-4 in 2004, 23-5 in 2005 and 14-9 during his final year as head coach.
Campbell, who was named Big Sky Coach of the Year each season from 2002-2005, led the Hornets to five-consecutive Big Sky championships (2002-06). In fact, entering the 2007 season, Sacramento State had won 33 consecutive matches against conference opponents dating back to 2002.
Dealing with the loss of four all-conference players from 2005, Campbell was faced with the challenge of continuing the success of his program with just two upperclassmen and six freshmen in 2006. The rebuilding project proved a success as the Hornets won their fifth Big Sky championship and went 6-0 in league play, dropping just three points during the entire season. Four players, including freshmen Joyce Martinez Gutierrez and Luba Schifris along with junior Cecilia Helland and league MVP Margarita Karnaukhova, were named to the all-conference team.
In 2005, the Hornets closed the season with victories in 23 of their last 25 matches, which included a 12-match winning streak (Feb. 12 – April 1). The Hornets tied program records for most victories (23) and most wins over a ranked opponent (six). That included victories over Washington, Fresno State and New Mexico. Sacramento State finished the season with a national ranking of No. 40 as the team was ranked no lower than 47th during the season.
The 2005 Sacramento State team also set the Big Sky Conference record with eight league player of the week awards. In addition, Hornet players accounted for six all-conference accolades, also a program record.
For the second-consecutive season in 2005, the Hornets had three players nationally ranked. Margarita Karnaukhova, Anna Erikson and Cecilia Helland combined to become one of the best trios in school history.
The 2002 season remains the breakout year for Sacramento State as the team cracked the top 75 for the first time in school history while advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time as well. Since the 2002 season, the Hornets have combined for 47 all-conference selections, including 31 first teamers. In addition, a Sacramento State player has been named conference MVP nine straight seasons heading into the 2012 season.
Originally a student at Cal, Campbell turned down a full-ride scholarship to play tennis for the Golden Bears, choosing instead to compete one year for coach Jack Jossi at Sacramento State. The Hornets’ No. 1 singles player as a junior, he chose not to compete as a senior while preparing for the CPA exam.
His love for teaching tennis began while he worked his way through school teaching lessons for Fulton-El Camino Park and Recreations. That program, which trained as many as 400 kids at a time, produced four world-ranked players and one NCAA Div. I national champion.
While working on a master’s degree at Sacramento State, Campbell wrote a paper on tennis and swim clubs, traveling the state to interview club owners. Upon graduating with an MBA in financial management, Campbell took the lessons from those interviews to heart and opened his first club (Rio Del Oro Racquet Club) in March of 1973.
The owner of Spare Time, Inc., Campbell and his wife, Margie (a previous Sacramento State women’s tennis coach who is a former president of the Northern California Tennis Association and a former member of the USTA’s national committee for strategic planning), currently operate nine clubs in the greater Sacramento region.
While Campbell has succeeded as a coach, it took a little help from his wife for him even to be considered for the position. A longtime supporter of the program, Bill and his wife were approached by former Hornet men’s tennis coach, Chris Evers, as to who they thought would be good for the vacant women’s coaching position at Sacramento State in the summer of 1998. Without his knowledge, Margie suggested that Bill would be interested.
A leader in the community, Campbell has remained involved by serving on numerous boards for the University and the city of Sacramento including the Sacramento State Accounting Advisory Board, Athletic Advisory Board, Board of Directors of Slakey Brothers, Business School Advisory Board, Crocker Art Museum, Jesuit High School, Sacramento Country Day School and many more.
He has been named Philanthropist of the Year by the National Society of Fund Raising Executive in 1992, Regional Pride Award for Business Development by Sacramento Magazine in 1991, Alumnus of the Year by the Sacramento State School of Business, Best in Business in 1989 and the 1988 Businessman of the Year by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.