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Remembering the life of Texas sports journalist Dave Campbell

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 10:40 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Iconic Texas sports journalist and founder of the Texas Football magazine, Dave Campbell died Friday after an illness. The Waco native leaves a legacy in the sports world that will not soon be forgotten.

The tributes for Dave Campbell continue to roll in. They’ve flooded social media and been heard on national television.

“I just want to give a shoutout to Dave Campbell who recently passed away. Texas high school football would not be the same without him,” Baylor Heisman Trophy winner, Robert Griffin III, said on ESPN’s College Gameday.

Dave Campbell went to La Vega High school and Baylor. He was the sports editor at the Waco Tribune-Herald for forty years. In 1960, while still at the paper, he founded Texas football magazine.

“He lost money on his first few magazines, it finally turned the corner, and then it just kept growing and became what people call the Bible of Texas football, said John Werner a Waco Tribune-Herald Sports Writer.

John Werner was hired by Dave Campbell in 1982.

“I was working at a newspaper on the coast and he called me. I thought Dave Campbell is calling me? I was excited,” explained Werner.

He’s one of the many sports journalists throughout the state that Campbell influenced. Jerry Hill was hired by Dave Campbell at the age of 22.

“I mean there were so many people that started at the Waco Tribune-Herald and then just what an amazing honor it was to write for Texas Football magazine. That was such a cool thing and he gave you that chance, said Hill.

For athletes, like Baylor’s Bryce Petty, the highest honor was and still is making the cover of the magazine.

Looking at those covers is a Texas football history lesson in itself. The emphasis on high school football inside those magazines is still what pulls people to run to the shelves when it’s released right before the season.

“He loved high school football so that was kind of his thing. You know making it that important, was such a huge deal,” explained Hill.

Dave Campbell also loved Baylor. For fifteen years he wrote as an employee of the university. I can tell you he wrote about Baylor long after that.

In January 2020, Dave had just lost his wife of 70 years and then Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey hugged him before taking the podium for a postgame press conference.

Dave was sitting there with notes in his hand and was ready to ask the coach some questions. Just as he would at every football press conference leading up to the pandemic.

There’s a strong push for Baylor to name the press box at McLane Stadium after Dave Campbell.

“I can’t imagine a press box at that stadium being named after anybody but Dave Campbell,” said Jerry Hill.

He did create the Bible of Texas football after all.

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