One of my favorites retiring

Louis Campbell has announced his retirement in coaching this week. He’s been at Sheridan the last several years as head coach. That’s an impossible place to win, but he did get the Yellow Jackets going for a couple of years when no one else had.

Many here know that Louis is one of my closest friends. We talk or text about every week. It’s usually about fly fishing. I was interested to read in the DG story that he will take out a “vengeance” on the brown trout in North Arkansas. I know he’s speaking the truth. He goes after the big ones. I know he fished last weekend for two days. He gave me the report Sunday afternoon.

Louis is my favorite fishing buddy. I don’t know how many times we’ve fished together, but it never gets old. The tough part is getting started. I make him pick his spot. He makes me pick it. We stand by the river bank for a few minutes before someone finally gives and takes a spot. After that, it’s easy, we just stay about 50 yards apart and attack the river up or down, sometimes flip-flopping the order.

My wife doesn’t ever care if I go fishing with Louis. She’ll ask who I’m fishing with. If I say Louis Campbell, she says, “Go, you’ll come back a better person after a day with Louis.”

I taught Louis how to fly fish. In trade, he taught me how to jig fish with a spinning outfit. We do both at times, but it’s mainly fly fishing with tiny midges.

I’ll tell one good story. I had beginning level rods when we first started fly fishing together. I picked out a top of the line Orvis T3 and began to make payments on it at the Fayetteville fly shop owned by Bill Tennison (now closed). It was very expensive. I had been making payments on it for 4 months, $50 here, $75 there. One day I came in and Bill told me, “Your rod is paid for.” I said, “No, I still owe $150.” He said, “No, someone covered that. It’s yours.”

Well, you know the rest of the story. Louis had taken some of his football camp money that summer and paid off the rod without telling me. I guessed it pretty quickly and confronted him about it. He smiled, then said, “OK, if you croak, leave that one to me.” To be honest, when I croak, he’s going to get a lot more than that Orvis T3. Maybe he’s pretty smart.

One more croaking story, I had been giving Louis midges for several years, maybe 8-10. I tie ruby midges a bit different than what you get at the fly shop. I’d give them to him by the dozen. I didn’t mind. I loved doing it.

Finally, he took a tying class at the fly shop and we spent a night learning my version of the ruby midge at a fishing camp on the river. I told him, “I would tie these for you forever.” He said, “I know, but what happens when you croak? No more ruby midges like these!”

Thank you Clay. It’s always wonderful to hear your stories about people you love.
Sad to here about Sheridan having tough times in football. I’m a PB Dollarway guy and recall them being the biggest, toughest team we played back in the 60’s.

Great piece.

Louis had three interceptions vs. Tennessee in the Hogs’ ill-fated 1971 Liberty Bowl, but his efforts could not overcome the actions of one Preston Watts.

But I’m not bitter.

Thank you Clay. I love your trips down memory lane.

Easy to write stories like this one.

SEASON. All thanks Preston Watttts

That was when the Yellowjackets were coached by the great Charlie Whitworth.