KCRG-TV9 Sports Director John Campbell Announces Retirement

By Nick Pugliese, Iowa SourceMedia Group Sports Manager

KCRG Sports Director John Campbell during the six o'clock broadcast on Monday, October 8, 2012. (Kyle Grillot/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The man behind “Big Ol’ Fish” actually might be doing more fishing come December. John Campbell, who has been the Sports Director for KCRG-TV9 for the last 33 years, announced Monday that he will be retiring on Dec. 14.

Veteran Assistant Sports Director Scott Saville will replace Campbell as the Sports Director. Meanwhile, Campbell still plans on doing part-time work for KCRG-TV9 and KCRG 9.2.

“John is the best in the business! He has always set the bar very high with quality storytelling and exceptional people stories,” Shannon Booth, Director of KCRG Products, said. “He’s one-of-a-kind … a role model, a leader, a true team player. He’s spent 30-plus years capturing memorable TV moments.”

Campbell has earned numerous honors through the years, including:
•Silver Circle Award (lifetime Emmy) in 2010 from the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
•Sportscaster of the Year (2005) from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association
•First TV sports director named to the Kinnick Stadium Press Box Wall of Fame at the University of Iowa (2011).
•Recognized by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Athletic Director’s Association and the Iowa Broadcast News Association.

Campbell, an Oskaloosa native and graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., began his broadcasting career in 1970 at WBAY-TV in Green Bay where he originally was a news reporter and photographer. He was named the station’s sports director two years later, and covered the Green Bay Packers among other Wisconsin sports teams.

He was named the sports director at KCRG in 1979 and has been a well-known and popular fixture in Eastern Iowa sports circles ever since.

Campbell’s hiring at KCRG coincided with the beginning of the Hayden Fry era at Iowa, and Campbell has been a constant on the sideline at Kinnick Stadium and courtside at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Still, Campbell has done much more than cover the Iowa Hawkeyes as his work on “Friday Night Lights” and features on the Cedar Rapids Kernels, high school athletics and youth sports attest. Campbell also has been known for his great outdoors story telling (and local fishing reports), and he has ridden RAGBRAI 14 times, most recently this past summer.

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