Mudbugs name Campbell as new head coach
July 26, 2018
By Roy Lang, Shreveport Times
In 1999, a fresh-faced 24-year-old from Orangeville, Ontario, arrived in Shreveport to play professional hockey – obviously unaware of what the next couple of decades would entail. On Thursday, it became clear Jason Campbell isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
Although Campbell captured a pair of championships on the ice -- and one as an assistant coach -- with the Mudbugs, there were detours -- cutting grass and working on the railroad to make ends meet -- on the path to Thursday's big news. There was even a brief trek to Dallas.
Since those roads led to this, there's no way Campbell would do anything different.
“It’s funny the path that your life takes,” Campbell told The Times. “I really enjoyed cutting lawns. You’re dealing with people all the time and you’re trying to provide a quality service, but hockey is just in my blood. If I have to cut grass and work on the railroad for a time to get my dream job, I’ll do it.
“And here we are.”
Thursday, Campbell – known affectionately as “Soupy” – was named the fourth head coach in Mudbugs history. He replaces Karlis Zirnis, who moved onto the NCAA after winning a North American Hockey League (NAHL) Robertson Cup National Championship with the Mudbugs last season.
“I love the game of hockey, junior hockey especially,” said Campbell, 43, an assistant coach under Zirnis for the past two seasons. “I hung my hat -- got married and raised a family -- here. I love this community. I’m super proud to be part of a great organization that provides this opportunity for this community and the players who play here.”
How much does Campbell love the Mudbugs? When general manager Scott Muscutt approached him about taking the job, there was a tad bit of resistance instead of an immediate “yes.” In addition to wanting to discuss the opportunity with his family, Campbell wanted to make sure the Mudbugs weren’t making a mistake.
“I really wanted to make sure it was the right move for the Mudbugs, not Jason Campbell,” he said. “I wanted to make sure I was going to give it my all and give what the team needed.”
Campbell is the fourth head coach in Mudbugs history. The prior three all won championships.
“I’m following the footsteps of some good coaches,” Campbell said. “I’m honored to carry on the tradition that has been Mudbugs hockey.”