His name was synonymous with Texas football for more than a half century, and he never played or coached a game in that time. Dave Campbell, B.A. ’50, who started the iconic Dave Campbell’s Texas Football prior to the 1960 season, died Dec. 10, 2021, at age 96.
Texas Football offers previews of every high school, college and professional team in the state. It is revered as the “bible of Texas football” and respected nationally as arguably the most comprehensive preseason football publication in America. While Texas Football is Campbell’s professional legacy, his legacy as a mentor, friend, father and husband could not be completely told in a single issue of the publication’s 400-plus pages.
A Waco native, Campbell enrolled at Baylor with aspirations of becoming a chemist, but World War II disrupted his academic journey. He served in the U.S. Army and earned a Bronze Star Medal for his valor in the Battle of the Bulge on the Western Front in the Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium.
Campbell returned to Baylor with journalism as his academic niche and soon met Reba Lou Weaver, B.A. ’47, who eventually became his wife of more than 70 years. She died in January 2020. He began writing for the Tribune-Herald prior to his World War II service and returned to the newspaper after graduating from Baylor. Campbell was sports editor within three years and held that position until retiring in 1993. He was editor of the Baylor Bear Foundation’s Insider thereafter until 2008.
“Dave revolutionized the media aspect of football in the state,” former Baylor football head coach and American Football Coaches Association executive director Grant Teaff told the Tribune-Herald’s John Werner following Campbell’s death. “He had a profound impact on the growth and improvement of high school football because he brought it to everybody’s attention.”
Kim Gorum, B.A. ’80, who ascended to Tribune-Herald sports editor in 1993 after serving as Campbell’s right-hand man, said the legacy of Texas Football is about more than sports.
“Its roster of contributors is a who’s who of Texas and national sportswriters — many of whom would have written for free just because it was Dave Campbell doing the asking,” Gorum said.
Campbell’s impact on sports journalism in Texas and the countless younger journalists who he mentored is immeasurable. His impact on those who knew him personally is unfathomable.
Baylor Director of Sports Journalism Jerry Hill, himself a former Tribune-Herald sportswriter, followed Campbell as Insider editor. Hill said he would not be the writer or man he is today without Campbell’s influence and that Campbell’s grace and compassion were never more evident than in Reba’s final days.
“His love for Reba and their daughters Becky and Julie was an inspiration and model for me to follow and try to emulate,” Hill said. “He never complained or relented in staying by Reba’s side as her health worsened. More than his writing style, I want to be the kind of man, husband and father Dave was.”