Union University President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver has announced that Mark Campbell will be the next director of athletics at Union University. Campbell will accept this new role while remaining as the head coach for the nationally-ranked Union women’s basketball program.
“Mark Campbell is an outstanding leader who embodies Union’s mission and lives out our core values of being excellence-driven, Christ-centered, people-focused and future-directed,” Oliver said. “There is no one better to lead our athletic program at this time in our history, and I look forward to the ways we will work together to advance all that we are pursuing at Union for the glory of God and the good of mankind.”
Campbell becomes just the third athletic director at Union in the past 50 years, following the distinguished careers of David Blackstock (34 years) and Tommy Sadler (16 years). His official first day as AD will be June 1.
Sadler is retiring as Union’s director of athletics in May after 16 years in the position and 12 years as the associate director of athletics under Blackstock. Prior to his 27 years in athletics, Sadler worked in public relations and fundraising for the university. His cumulative service to Union has spanned 37 years.
Sadler said, “Mark Campbell is an excellent choice to be the next director of athletics at Union. He loves this university and embodies its core values. I am excited to see the vision he will cast for the athletic program in the coming years.”
Taking over for Blackstock in 1998 as the head coach of the Union Lady Bulldogs, Campbell continued to build on one of the best women’s basketball programs in the game. In his time as head coach, he has added numerous national and conference titles to the Union trophy case. Campbell hopes to apply that same leadership to his new role as director of athletics and continue to build on the great foundation and success of Union athletics as a whole.
“What an honor to serve this place that I consider part of my family,” Campbell said. “We love Union University and the mission of this place. I love how God has used this university to grow my faith. I met my amazing wife Molly here. We have had four children here and are so thankful for the faithfulness of God. Union has invested in us through the many relationships we have all around this campus and this community. We believe in this place, and we look forward to seeing all that God is going to do moving forward.
“We feel such peace about this next step,” Campbell continued. “I feel very fortunate to follow two men that I love, and I am thankful for both of them. Tommy Sadler has been such a good friend and someone who has valued a relationship with me. Relationship is very important to me, and he has demonstrated a love for me and my family throughout my time here. David Blackstock also demonstrated a love for Union and for me that God used to shape me here, and I am thankful for Armita’s support.”
Campbell said Union’s Christ-centered mission and family atmosphere distinguish it from other universities.
“My desire is that God is glorified through athletics and every one of our coaches as we try to live out the gospel mission throughout the entire athletic department,” he said. “I see this as an opportunity to give back to the place God has used to sanctify me and encourage me to be totally his. Molly and I are very thankful for this opportunity to serve, and I appreciate Dr. Oliver’s confidence in me.”
Campbell is currently in his 24th season as head coach for the Union women’s basketball program. His teams have won five straight Gulf South Conference regular season titles and three straight GSC tournament titles. He has accumulated a record of 691-110 and is approaching his 700th career win. He is on pace to become the fastest coach in basketball history in all divisions, men’s or women’s basketball, to reach 700 career wins.
Campbell was also named to Union’s Bicentennial Hall of Honor as one of the university’s 100 most influential people in a ceremony this fall as a part of Union’s bicentennial celebration.
Over his career, Campbell has won four NAIA National Championships, one NCCAA National Championship, one NCAA Division II South Region Title and made a Division II national semifinal appearance. Campbell has led his team to a third-place finish or higher in the national tournament 12 times.
In 23 years, his teams have won 20 conference regular season titles and 15 conference tournament titles. He has reached the 30-win mark 13 times in his career. Campbell has been named conference coach of the year 11 times, region coach of the year four times, state coach of the year five times and national coach of the year six times.
Campbell is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, the Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame and his high school’s hall of honor. He earned a gold medal as the head coach for the USA U16 team in the America’s Championship and was in line to be the coach of the U17 team in the World Championships in 2020, which was canceled due to COVID. He was named the 2019 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year.
Campbell is a graduate of Lipscomb University in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. He is married to the former Molly Graves of Jackson. They are the parents of their children Gray (Union class of 2025), Ella, Kalyan and Mia.D2 Union University