By Heartland Sports
MARTIN, TN (KFVS) - University of Tennessee-Martin head basketball coach Brett Campbell resigned Thursday, according to the university.
Campbell led the Skyhawks to their first Ohio Valley Conference championship and their first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance this past season.
The team posted a 14-4 league record and a 22-10 overall worksheet which is the best overall record in school history and the most wins for UT Martin since playing as an NCAA Division I team.
Assistant head coach Jason James will replace Campbell. James has been with the Skyhawks for the past seven years.
The following is a press release from UTM.
MARTIN, Tenn. - Following the completion of the most successful men's basketball campaign in the history of UT Martin as a Division I program, head coach Bret Campbell submitted his resignation Thursday.
"I spent time considering what I would like to accomplish both personally and professionally," Campbell said.
"Questions arose regarding decisions I made concerning the operation of the summer basketball camps on campus. I understand the concerns over mistakes that were made. After much thought and prayer and considering where the program is today, I decided to resign as head basketball coach. This will allow me to spend more time with my family before I accept other professional opportunities that are forthcoming," Campbell said.
"These issues are strictly related to the summer camps and have nothing to do with the NCAA or any of our current or former players."
This past season, Campbell led the Skyhawks to their first Ohio Valley Conference championship and their first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearance.
The team posted a 14-4 league record and a 22-10 overall worksheet, the best overall record in school history and the most wins for UT Martin since playing as an NCAA Division I team. After winning a school-record 11 straight games, the Skyhawks cracked the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll for the first time ever on Feb. 23, 2009.
The Skyhawks came in at No. 25 in the poll, which is in its 10th season of existence.
"While at UT Martin, I had the opportunity to work with some of the greatest coaches, student-athletes and fans in the Ohio Valley Conference," Campbell said.
"It is rare that a coach has the privilege of coaching an All-American, achieving a conference championship, being named coach of the year, playing in the NIT and seeing the program post the 11th largest increase in attendance in the NCAA all in the same year."
Campbell will be replaced by assistant head coach Jason James who has been with the Skyhawks for the past seven years. James will become the Skyhawks' eighth head coach since 1951.
"The men's basketball program is clearly in a better position today than when I first arrived 10 years ago," Campbell said. "That is why the time has come for me to turn the program over to my assistant coach and friend, Jason James. I am confident Jason will maintain the enthusiasm currently in place and continue what we have started.
"Jason is a tireless worker," Campbell said. "He has a number of recruiting contacts throughout the Southeast, and he has been instrumental in helping UT Martin become one of the top programs in the OVC."
"Coach Campbell has guided our men's basketball program to elevated levels of success, and we are grateful to have benefitted from his expertise. I know our Skyhawk fans and student-athletes recognize and appreciate what Bret Campbell brought to this program," UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes said.
"I deeply regret Bret's resignation, but I want to assure our stakeholders that the decisions he made regarding summer camps were completely unrelated to his responsibilities under NCAA rules as they related to recruiting, student welfare, academics or any other area of under his supervision, UT Martin athletics director Phil Dane said.
"Bret has worked tirelessly to get the program where it is today, and I wish him and his family the very best as he moves forward. I have complete confidence that his program has been run in accordance with NCAA rules or I would not appoint Jason (James) as our head coach," Dane said. " I am pleased that Jason is willing to accept the appointment as our next coach, and I know he and Coach (Jay) Bowen will move the program forward."
Campell, 47, has led the Skyhawks to five consecutive Ohio Valley Conference postseason tournaments; he recruited the Freshman of the Year or OVC Newcomer of the Year in four of the past eight seasons; and he has recruited two-time OVC Player of the Year Lester Hudson.
Campbell came to UT Martin in March 1999, from Austin Peay. The Indiana native reached two coaching milestones in 2008. He won his 100th game as a collegiate head coach with an 82-79 victory over Tennessee Tech on Feb. 14, 2008. Campbell also became the second-longest tenured coach at UT Martin with the win over Tech. He has coached 292 games over the past 10 seasons. Only Floyd Burdette has coach more games (398 games) than Campbell.
This past season, Campbell, Hudson and the Skyhawks posted the 11th largest average attendance increase in Division I from the previous year. The Skyhawks averaged more than 1,000 people per game compared to their average attendance in 2008.