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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.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Oakland coach Greg Kampe closing in on 500 wins

For a brief moment at the Golden Grizzlies’ media day, coach Greg Kampe paused to reflect on his nearly 30 years at Oakland, where he enters his 29th season at 490-349 (.584). 
Prior to four straight 20-win seasons and postseason berths, Kampe guided the Oakland program into Division I competition and has cemented Oakland among the household names of mid-major programs.
Oakland was a perennial Division II power in multiple sports, including basketball. But Kampe was hesitant to make the transition Division I, according to his bio page on the Oakland website.
“When we went Division I (in 1998-1999), I thought I was going to get fired in three or four years,” Kampe joked. “We’ve won 90-some games in four years. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of our staff, players and administration and what basketball means here. People know where we’re at and who we are. I’m proud of what we’ve become.”
Dozens of his former players have played professionally, including Rawle Marshall and Keith Benson, who have both logged time in the NBA.  
Kampe heaped praise on his coaching staff, in particular associated head coach Jeff Tungate, who is in his seventh season, and assistants Darren Sorenson (sixth season) and Saddi Washington (seventh).  
“I’ve got a great staff. This is the fifth or sixth year we’ve been together. At this level, that doesn’t happen,” Kampe said.
Kampe has taken the Golden Grizzlies to the NCAA tournament three times in Division I with three regular-season division titles. He led the then-Pioneers to the Division II NCAA tournament in four consecutive seasons from 1993-94 through 1996-97, when they reached the regional final (Sweet Sixteen).
Kampe has also been named Summit League coach of the year five times, including back-to-back honors in 2010-11, when Oakland amassed consecutive 17-1 regular-season conference records. 
Oakland was 197-272 (.422) before Kampe took over in 1984-85. He is now one of the winningest active coaches in Division I as well as one of the five longest-tenured coaches in Division I.
In January, Kampe was enshrined in the Golden Grizzlies' Hall of Honor.
“It’s really a prideful thing to see what we’ve done, Kampe said. “The future is even better for us. There’s going to be a day when we do something special in March.”


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