What does the post-Kampe future look like for Oakland? Will there ever be a “post-Kampe?”
Longtime head coach of Oakland basketball, Greg Kampe, has been extended for three more seasons. His new contract will end after the 2023 NCAA tournament (providing he isn’t extended again).
First reported by the Detroit News’ Tony Paul, Kampe’s new deal will be approximately $300,000 per year, with bonuses that could push his contract up to $400,000 per year. By the end of this contract, he will have coached at Oakland for 40 years, which is how long Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has been at Duke as of 2019.
So what does this mean for the next four years of Oakland men’s basketball? Spoiler alert: it helps.
If you want to attribute the large amount of transfers to Kampe’s sometimes abrasive coaching style, that’s fair. But there is an obvious benefit to having a coach that has been a mainstay of the university, and has been as invested as anyone in the program. It helps reinforce to a potential recruit that he will stick around for the long haul.
It also helps university optics. Kampe is notorious for his community service work, and has done a lot of good for the metro Detroit area. That gives the university a great PR boost. But on-court performance is the most important aspect of a college coach who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That is what could determine how much longer Kampe stays at the university. They’ll never fire him, but four more years of heartbreaking postseason losses could push Kampe away after 40 years. Kampe has given no hints that he plans on retiring, as he said to the Detroit News.
“I come to work every day wanting to make Oakland great,” Kampe told Tony Paul. “And as long as I have that feeling every day, I’ll work till I drop over.”
Many believe he will just one day “drop over” on the sidelines. I do, too, but as a man who seems to have a good outlook on life with a family, maybe four tough seasons make him think it’s time to hang it up.
I expect Kampe to outlast me in my career, which hasn’t even started yet, but I also have a feeling of weariness when it comes to a potential future extension. 40 years is an amazing career, a career that has already been recognized as hall-of-fame level in Michigan.
This extension is positive, no doubt, but it has me thinking about what’s next. When does Kampe decide he’s done it all? When do the road trips begin to wear down on him mentally? People never thought it’d happen with Phil Jackson, but he eventually walked away because the grind of coaching is a lot to handle.
Consistency is great for sports teams. Having Kampe around for the future is important, and the three-year extension is a positive sign for the immediate future of Oakland basketball. For the sake of my Twitter timeline, I hope Kampe never retires.