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Two legendary coaches, friends, reunite to rebuild the foundation of State College boys volleyball

By Kenny Varner

STATE COLLEGE – Two legendary volleyball coaches and longtime friends reunite after more than decade to rebuild and build a solid foundation for the future of the State College boys volleyball program.

Current State College girls volleyball coach Chad Weight and Bald Eagle coach Larry Campbell has joined forces as co-head coaches to get a young Little Lions squad back on its feet.

The two coaches started their friendship over 15 years ago as coaches of the Bellefonte girls basketball team. It would be a start of a longtime friendship that extends into the present.

What finally happened to make the two come together was a chance of a lifetime.

“I think the opportunity came. The boys job opened up and it was an opportunity for us to come together and have fun,” said Campbell. “I think the reason while we’re doing this is because it’s fun. We enjoy each other. We enjoy the staff we have. We enjoy being around them and if your not having fun doing this then why do it. So right now it’s a cool experience and it’s different for both of us. It’s starting over and you forget some of the steps it took to get where you got.”

Both will take the top role and be Co-Head Coaches.

The reunion was originally scheduled to have taken place last spring season but was wiped out only seven days into the season.

“It was seven practices of fun last year,” said Campbell.

So far, the young team is being built from the ground up as there are a lot of new faces on the squad.

“It’s been tough because we have 15 kids but only four have ever played before,” said Weight. “It makes it real interesting but we’ve come a long way in a short amount of time but we know we still got a long way to go still.”

Both coaches have created strong winning traditions at their respective schools on the girls’ side, dominating their competition for many years. They are now focusing on bringing their veteran leadership to the boys’ team.

“I think it’s all the same stuff. I think one thing that Chad an I have done in the past, and I don’t see other schools doing is, when our girls’ teams get together, he will grab my kids and tells them ‘Hey, you need to do this’ and I do the same for his kids,” Campbell said. “And at no point do question ‘what is that guy doing talking to my kid?’ Because I know he’d be saying the same thing I’d say but it’s coming from a different voice and it might click when he says it just because it’s in a different pattern and by the same token what I say might reiterate what he’s trying to do but they just hear it from a different voice and from a different perspective from someone who is not on your side trying to help you. I think with us being on the same page so much like that I never really questioned what our intents are. It’s to make the kids better and help each other out. So now it’s just basically the same thing but only under one roof.”

Weight’s feelings about the two coaches combining are the same as Campbell’s.

“It helps that both of us share the same philosophy about the whole idea of coaching. We want kids to work hard. We want them to be good teammates and we want them to have fun,” said Weight. “I think a lot of times, what gets lost in the midst of coaching is having fun. You got to have some fun.”

The goals are going to be simple ones for the players this season.

“Everyday we want to keep getting a little bit better. I’m anxious to see where we are at in late May as opposed to where we are right now,” said Campbell. “You can see what we’ve done in the first 11 practices but at the same token ‘How can we get to where we want to be ?’ We have a setter who is probably one of the best setters in the state. We have an outside hitter who is already signed to play college ball. So, we have a couple of pieces. Our kids are big athletes and we got some other kids. We have one kid who is playing middle for us was a football and basketball player. He’s never played volleyball before but he’s 6’ 4” and athletic and every day he gets a little bit better because it’s brand new. When you first start big jumps happen and we’re hoping we can stretch a little bit and improve and modify our system a little bit to make it work.”

Even from their time at Bellefonte both coaches have always continued their friendship and have a strong bond.

“We’ve kept in touch the entire time and even since that departure. He went to Bald Eagle and I stayed at Bellefonte and then I came here (State College),” said Weight. “But even through that whole time we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other, kids and thoughts and it’s constant back and forth chatter between the two of us.”

Campbell sees the special friendship as one that helps when he also understand items that others may not because of where he is.

“It also helps with the other one also being a head coach who has had a lot of success where they understand some of the things maybe a lot of people wouldn’t understand,” Campbell said. “I can appreciate some of the thoughts that he gives me because it’s stuff I wouldn’t have thought of or also there are some days I can unload and vent on things that are happening.”

The two legendary coaches will open up their first season on Tuesday, March 23rd at home versus Central Dauphin at 6:30.

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