Larry Campbell retiring as Lincoln County's football coach

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Larry Campbell

Larry Campbell, Lincoln County High School Football Coach (WRDW-TV)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lincolnton, Ga. (WRDW) -- It was bound to happen one of these days and today was it. After 44 years on the sidelines, legendary football coach Larry Campbell stepping down in Lincoln County.

"But after 44 years of coaching, I have finally decided that it is time for me to retire" said Larry Campbell

And with those words, four plus decades, 477 wins and 11 state championships later, Lincoln County's Larry Campbell has hung up his whistle. A decision based mostly on family.

"I don't want to make the mistakes with my grandchildren that I made with my children and that is that I hardly ever saw my children because I was working seven days a week," he said. "Working on game plans and thinking winning football games was the most important thing in the world and I've been taught... [it's] not the case."

Even though he's not so sure about his wife.

"I'm not sure she's behind the retirement yet, I don't know if she's ready to put up with me," he said.

Or his grandson who's in third grade, who wanted grandpa to coach him one day.

Campbell is the winningest coach in Georgia football. His lone losing season, his first in 1972. The first state title, 1976. The players carrying him onto the field. The last two, back to back in 2005 and 2006.

"State championships aren't that way, many a football coach, excellent football coaches out there that have never had the opportunity to win one so I know what it feels like and they get more special the older I get without a doubt," Campbell said back in 2006.

His legacy has no boundaries. Former Red Devil star Garrison Hearst was on hand today and knows first hand the lessons came off the field as much as on the field.

"His thing was if you can make it through some of the things I ask you to do, things in life get you to, you'll be able to push through," said Garrison Hearst. "That's been his teaching method for years. I just hate to see that part leave because a lot of kids, they need it."

He made his final decision Monday and let his players know Friday morning.

"It was tough, there's some good kids there and some good football players there. It's difficult after 44 years to give it up," he said.

Campbell admits he has no hobbies, he has his cows. He says he'll be at the games, just sitting on the visitors side to make it easier on everyone. As far as the future, he does leave the door open a bit.

"Some day if I have that desire again, I could probably hook on as an assistant or something but right now I have no intention on coaching again," he said.

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