Making a name for himself

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:05 AM ET

He is the son of a CFL Hall of Famer who has already established himself as his own man on the sidelines.

Yet, Rick Campbell knew that getting away from his roots in Edmonton and famous father, Hugh, might be a good thing for his career. After all, how would it look if poppa hired his son as the Eskimos head coach before he had proven himself elsewhere?

"When I first went to Edmonton, I knew that would be an issue for some people," said Campbell, 38. "But it was not an issue as far as coaches and players I worked with. So, that part doesn't bother me. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to get into a new place and let some other people see what I have to offer. That can only help me as far as my job possibilities go."

Campbell had been both the defensive co-ordinator and defensive backs coach for Edmonton for the previous four seasons, working with current Blue Bombers head coach Mike Kelly in Edmonton last year. Although he followed Kelly to Winnipeg, his role is now special teams co-ordinator and defensive backs coach. But he does not look at that as a demotion.

"Originally when I came out here (CFL), I was a special teams coach, then became the D co-ordinator," he said. "I'm really involved with both the special teams and defence here so, as far as I'm concerned, it's been a great deal because I'm involved in two-thirds of the team."

Although there has been an intense rivalry between Edmonton and Winnipeg both on and off the field over the years, Campbell has actually moved here.

"It's been really good," he said. "I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into because I had only been here for road games. My wife (Geri) and I have both moved here. People have been great to us.

"I've always had great respect for the city of Winnipeg and the team. It was such a difficult place to play. They've always had good teams here and the fans have always been so good so, I was excited to be on the home side of it as opposed to being on the away side of it."

Although his father earned the nickname, "Gluey Hughie" as a reliable receiver for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, that was before Rick was born. So, he only knew him as a coach and later, GM and top executive of one of the CFL's most respected franchises.

"Both my parents did a great job creating a normal family life for my sisters and I," said Campbell, who has no children. "We obviously knew he was a football coach but as far as the way we interacted in the neighbourhood and at schools, we were just another family on the block."


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