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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

'Loyal' Greg Kampe reflects on time at Oakland

The past two seasons while Oakland played in the NCAA tournament, the most frequent questions besides those about Keith Benson were always “Why has that Greg Kampe guy been there so long?” He’s his 28th season after taking over in 1984.
“I guess it’s unusual that a guy has coached at one place at our level without leaving,” Kampe said on Tuesday’s “The Greg Kampe Show” on WXOU.
“I’m a very loyal person,” Kampe said. “And it’s been a great fit for me and my family. I’m not saying I wouldn’t leave. If State U ‘X’ called and offered me $1.3 million to coach their team, I’d probably take it. You didn’t leave Oakland back in the day to go to a job like that. You left to go to a middle job that would lead to a an Atlantic 10 or Missouri Valley-level program. I never wanted to do that. I was comfortable here and had the autonomy of running a program.
“We were making good money and leading  good life, so why would you want to leave? Oakland has been very good to Greg Kampe and I’m happy to be a part of this.”
Kampe admitted to turning down a 5-year, $2 million deal last summer, but declined to say which program the offer came from.  
“I’ve had numerous opportunities over the years, but none of them were the right fit,” he added.
Kampe further added he went on an initial interview last year but had a change of heart regarding further negotiations after talking with his wife. He was reportedly being wooed by Eastern Michigan last offseason.
He was also pursued by Dayton, which was looking to replace former Oakland standout Brian Gregory, who played for Kampe in the 80s.
“But that was last year, and we were winning a lot,” Kampe said. “I don’t think I’ll be getting many calls this year.”
Oakland made Kampe one of the first two active coaches to ever be enshrined in the school’s athletic Hall of Honor nearly two weeks ago. He recalled making just $29,000 per season as the nation’s youngest coach when he started.
“Humbling,” Kampe called the induction last week on “Grizz Talk.” “I’m very appreciative Oakland would do that, but I’m also cognizant of the fact I have years left and a lot of work to do and we have a lot of games to win. As a coach, you don’t look in the rear-view mirror.”
Nearly 30 years and three Division I NCAA tournament appearances later, he has the success and longevity that makes national beat writers scratching their head.


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