Not many Georgia high schools coaches stay in one place long enough to win 400 games.
At Campbell High in Smyrna, there are two such ‘’dinosaurs’’ to borrow a term that comes to mind to when girls basketball coach Randy McClure tries to explain the unusually long tenures of himself and boys basketball coach James Gwyn.
Campbell is honoring the two coaches by naming its new basketball facility the Gwyn-McClure Gymnasium.
‘’Truly God has blessed both of us and made this possible,’’ said McClure, an original faculty member from the school’s inaugural 1988-89 academic year. “Also I don' think there are many schools where the two varsity coaches have been the same as Coach Gwyn and I. I am not saying that we are dinosaurs, but we have been around for a while.’’
Gwyn was equally honored.
‘’I was very surprised by this since it was certainly unexpected,’’ Gwyn said. “Always hoped to be here a long time, but one never knows how things play out. Probably not going to have many coaches stay as long as Coach McClure and myself in one place.’’
Though not easy to confirm, it’s unlikely than any other GHSA school has two active basketball coaches with this many wins at the same school.
Campbell High opened 30 years ago under the name of Smyrna High, a merger of the student bodies from Wills and old Campbell high schools.
The original rival schools each had basketball tradition. Campbell’s boys won a state title in 1982 under coach David Boyd, who went on to win six state titles around metro Atlanta. His younger brother, Cal Boyd, was the star player. He’s now head coach at Mount Bethel Christian. Campbell’s girls were state runners-up in 1984.
Wills won a boys state title in 1986 with an all-state guard named Brian Oliver, who would go on to star at Georgia Tech. The girls were state semifinalists in 1985.
McClure, originally from Charlotte, began teaching science at Wills in 1986 and remains the last active faculty member from those two schools. He became Campbell’s girls head coach in 1990. His Spartans have made the state tournament 17 of the past 19 seasons. They’ve made the state’s elite eight or better nine times in his tenure. His record is 491-316.
Gwyn became the boys head coach in 1995-96. He had led North Clayton to a state title in 1993, which attracted Campbell’s attention. Gwyn was already living in Smyrna at the time.
Gwyn is originally from New Jersey and was a better football player growing up. He played at St. Joseph’s College in Indiana and actually had a tryout with the old USFL. His first coaching job was as an assistant in basketball at Wheaton College in Illinois.
‘’I decided then to concentrate on basketball since that was the first sport that hired me,’’ Gwyn said. “Donnie Nelson [president and GM of Dallas Mavericks] was on the team while I coached my first year at Wheaton. I was able to speak and learn from his dad [Don Nelson] who was coaching the Bucks at the time and who was able to get to some games to watch Donnie. I always took the opportunity listen to him and he was very willing to share with a young coach.’’
Gwyn’s record at Campbell is 408-266, and he has over 500 wins for his career.
The Campbell basketball teams had been playing at Wills’ old gym, built in 1965.
The new gym, which seats 3,500, opened in 2017. Now it’s got a name.
‘’We have been given a tremendous honor,’’ McClure said. ‘’Both of us are extremely honored proud and yet humbled by this gesture. … I believe adjusting to the changes in the layers and loving the kids, our school and the community have allowed us to remain and be somewhat successful at our beloved Campbell.’’
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