Riverside Coach Campbell receives AR Diamond Award
Riverside boy’s basketball coach Buster Campbell was getting ready for the annual Rebel Maroon/Gray games Friday afternoon and had no idea he was about to be honored. Coach Campbell had been nominated and selected to receive the Arkansas Diamond Award for his commitment and love for his community, school, players and all students.
It is not easy to surprise Coach Campbell but the Riverside staff and his family managed to keep him in the dark. Coach Campbell was presented the Arkansas Diamond Award, the highest honor one can receive from the Secretary of State’s office. This award is given to those who have made significant contributions to his/her community through their time, talent and dedication. Their service is one of exemplary quality. The gold seal of the Secretary of State and the official signature of Mark Martin, Secretary of State, is on the framed award.
The idea for the nomination for the prestigious award came from Riverside business teacher Michele Freeman. Assistant Coach Kevin Hall wrote a letter and Coach Campbell was selected for the award. Freeman went to Little Rock to pick up the plaque and ribbon. Coach Hall had the privilege of making the presentation to his friend and co-worker with the staff and student body gathered in the Rebel Gymnasium. Hall said, 'It is a well deserved honor."
Coach Campbell is going into his 43rd year of coaching in the same school district. He started his career as coach at Caraway where he coached for 10 years before Caraway and Lake City consolidated forming Riverside in the 1980s. He has served as coach at Riverside all except one year, 1989-1990. He has led his teams to 874 victories, averaging 20 games a season, along with a number of regional and state tournament berths. He was inducted into the Arkansas High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame earlier this year. He has been named Coach of the Year nine times. His team has made two final 4 state appearances.
His most recent teams have been to the state semifinals two out of the last five years.
Coach Campbell has coached sons of some of his earlier team members and even several of the school board members. He would have coached a grandson of a former player this season for the first time but the student moved.
Coach Campbell still loves to coach and gets excited every year when the season is about to begin. He encourages his kids to do the best they can be on and off the court.
Riverside’s season opens Thursday night against Viola in the Bad Boy Classic at Izard County. On Friday night the Rebels will travel to Armorel for a four-game night.