Campbell picked as Lady Vikings coach

In her many years of coaching basketball and softball, Beth Campbell has always emphasized teaching the game to her players.

“I think it’s important that they know exactly why they do everything,” Campbell said. “I think it’s important that they learn the game so that they can make their own decisions.”

Campbell, 47, will bring her teaching philosophy to Glendale Area High School, where she will take over as the school’s new varsity girls basketball coach next season.

Campbell — a 1989 graduate of Altoona Area High School — was hired for the Glendale position in mid-May. Campbell was the head girls basketball coach at Grace Prep in State College for two years, an assistant girls basketball coach at Cambria County Christian for four years, and a junior high head girls basketball coach at Great Commission for two years.

Employed as a private school teacher, Campbell was also formerly the head varsity softball coach at Altoona Area High School for two years, and an assistant coach with the Saint Francis University women’s softball team for two years. She is currently an assistant women’s softball coach at Penn State Altoona.

“I think it will really help me,” Campbell said about how her vast coaching experience will serve her well at Glendale, whose girls basketball program won only three games last season. “I’ve taken over a lot of teams that didn’t have the best records, and most of the teams I’ve taken over (wound up with) really good records. I have had a lot of experience in building the confidence of the players who I have coached.”

Campbell knows that she will face a formidable task at Glendale, which graduated its top basketball scorer, Makenzie Lukehart, this spring. But Campbell is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s going to be difficult, the leading scorer graduated, and there are going to be a lot of young girls on the team,” Campbell said. “But I’m really excited about it. I met the girls a week ago, and everybody seemed really excited and ready to get to work.

“We’re going to spend the summer and the offseason in open gyms learning the game, and I think the hard work will pay off in an improved record,” Campbell said.

Glendale athletic director John Matchock said that Campbell brings impressive energy and experience to the basketball coaching position.

“She seems very energetic, she’s ready to go, ready to get the girls started playing basketball with open gym,” Matchock said. “She’s very into sports, she has a lot of coaching experience, and I think that she will do a good job.”

Campbell said that at least a .500 record and a berth in the District 6 Class 1A playoffs would be a couple notable goals for her first season on the Glendale bench.

“My goals for the first year are that we improve on (last year’s) record, that the girls all improve on their shooting percentages, and for the first year, I’d love to go .500 and work toward a playoff run,” Campbell said. “I’m really excited to join the athletic family at Glendale. (The players) are a lot of fun and a close-knit group. I think I’m really going to enjoy coaching them.”