SHAFFER WINS THE BELT
Sam Shaffer, a 2014 graduate of Glenvar High School, won the USIBA(United States Intercollegiate Boxing Association) national boxing championship when VMI hosted the event the final weekend of March. Sam won the belt in the 189 pound division.
Shaffer is a second class Keydet, which is equivalent to a junior. He won a split decision over Brendan Conard from the University of Michigan in the championship on Friday night, March 24, before a rowdy crowd at VMI’s Cocke Hall.
“It was incredible to have the nationals at VMI,” said Shaffer. “I had all those Keydets behind me hanging over the rail and hollering, and I could tell who was hollering. That made it really special.”
Shaffer has been a boxing fan for a long time. Growing up he watched fights with his dad, Nick Shaffer.
“I’ve always loved boxing,” he said. “My dad boxed some in the Navy and I’ve seen all the Rocky movies. The sport has kind of died out a little but I really enjoy it.”
Sam’s favorite boxer is Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin, a Kazakhstani professional boxer who currently holds the unified WBA, WBC, IBF, and IBO middleweight titles. He goes by the nickname “Triple G.”
Shaffer had to win his spot on the VMI team. He trained throughout the year but really started hitting it hard in September. He was one of five Keydets to win their division, as over 30 schools from all over the country sent fighters to Lexington for the event. The VMI men finished second as a team behind Michigan, and the Wolverines also won the women’s championship. VMI had one women’s champ, entering female boxers for the first time.
With the championship belt now around his waist, Sam is going to take a little time to slow down, as if that’s possible at a school like VMI. However, he’ll be back in the gym soon enough preparing to compete again next year.
“After nationals it’s not quite as intense,” he said. “I’ll fight again. You get to keep the belt, but next year I want a chance to win another one.”
BIG GIRLS DO CRY
It wasn’t an April Fool when a group of former William Fleming students held a reception for Jerry Campbell last Saturday. With the help of his wife, Cheryl, a row of various vehicles lined up outside his home to surprise him, have lunch with him, and even apologize to him.
Campbell is best known in Salem as Principal at Andrew Lewis Middle School before retiring in 2011. Many Salem folks don’t know that back in 1978 Campbell was appointed William Fleming’s girls’ head basketball coach.
“A group of former high school women whom he had coached from 1978-1983 missed the retirement celebrations,” said Salem’s Toni Ward Belton. “Many, now in their 50’s, were raising their own children and grand-children. Some had moved away and some lost contact and didn’t even know he had retired.”
Ginger Quinn was main organizer for the event and she worked with Cheryl to put out a wonderful spread. The former players presented Campbell with a pocket watch with the inscription “Jerry’s Girls” and gave his wife a beautiful bracelet.
It was a nice show of affection from the ladies. Back then having a male coach was a first for many of the girls as well as a first time for Campbell coaching females. The ladies shared stories for several hours, laughing and reminiscing about the love of the game under a new head coach who had only coached guys up to that point.
“Some boasted of stats, some bragged about the toughness that females had back then that you just don’t see nowadays,” said Belton. “We talked about the grueling practices we had to adjust to under a male coach, practices where they sometimes ran an hour without ever touching the basketball. Coach Campbell’s wife told a different story, however, about her husband coming home and asking her, ‘What do you do when they cry?… Boys don’t cry when you yell at them.’”
Campbell’s daughter, Kim Crist, is now a teacher and coach for the Salem School system. Hopefully she’s not making anyone cry.