CFCA's Jeremy Campbell and Ocoee's Jason Boltus have infused excitement into both programs as the spring football season has gotten underway.
OCOEE Jeremy Campbell did not seek out the head coach job at CFCA.
Instead, it found him.
Campbell, formerly the associate head coach and defensive coordinator for Tampa Bay Bucs legend Mike Alstott at Northside Christian, had begun to assess head coaching opportunities.
When the former linebacker for the Clemson Tigers applied and interviewed for an opening at Victory Christian in Lakeland, he made a good impression. That led the athletic director at Victory to pass along Campbell’s résumé when he heard that CFCA Athletic Director Kyle Wills was looking to replace Chris Cook, who had stepped down after one season at the helm.
Wills sought out Campbell, who was only vaguely familiar with the program at CFCA from a spring game matchup a few years back. And after doing some research, Campbell had two conclusions: CFCA presented several opportunities, and the opportunity was God’s work.
“I did my research and found out (CFCA) was a great place to be,” Campbell said. “I didn’t seek out this job — God placed it in my lap. When God ordains something, who are we to stand in the way?”
That should be music to the ears of the CFCA community, which has seen a revolving door of coaches over the past few years. Campbell is the program’s fifth head coach in as many years, but he said is eager to install a culture of consistency on campus — a trait he said he picked up from Alstott.
“I’m not leaving. I plan on being here for as long as they’re going to have me.”
— Jeremy Campbell
“It’s all about being consistent: Consistency from the staff and consistency with the kids,” Campbell said. “I’m not leaving. I plan on being here for as long as they’re going to have me.”
Along with Alstott and the rest of the staff at Northside, Campbell was part of rebuilding that program to the point of winning its first district and regional championships in 30 years last fall. Campbell points out that just five years ago, Northside was dressing around 18 players for a spring football game. Last fall, they routinely dressed more than 40. It is evidence of a coach who is not afraid of being around a project that requires some building.
Campbell and his family are in the process of selling their home in St. Petersburg and moving to West Orange. In the meantime, he will commute to Ocoee three times a week until the Eagles host Cornerstone Charter in their spring game May 19.
He is excited to start the process of molding the team to his preferred brand of football.
“We’re going to be very fast and athletic,” Campbell said. “And we’re going to be smart and disciplined. You don’t have to be the greatest athlete in the world to be smart. Smartness and effort, those are two things I’m going to harp on.”
Boltus settles in
A lot of things felt the same for Jason Boltus as the Ocoee football team began spring practice last week. After all, it marked Boltus’ third spring with the Knights.
The difference, though, was that Boltus — formerly the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach — is now the head guy after Ben Bullock’s departure for Lake Highland Prep last month.
As the Knights wrapped up a session April 28, Boltus admitted there are some differences to being head coach.
“It’s a lot more management,” Boltus said. “(But) I’m still the same old me, having fun and eager to be out here. I’m just trying to bring the energy — we’ve got a lot of kids out here that are excited about Ocoee football and trying to repeat as district champions this year.”
Boltus has put together a staff for the spring that he is excited about, adding that roles will be fluid as they progress through the spring and into fall camp.
The Knights suffered a few transfers during the weeks leading up to Bullock’s departure, as well as the loss of a valuable group of senior leaders, but Boltus seems confident the Knights can continue to build off of their 2016 success as they prepare to host University May 19 in their spring game.
“They’re eager to learn and they’re bringing a lot of energy,” Boltus said.
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