Longevity can be rewarding.
At Campbell High School, girls basketball coach Randy McClure and boys basketball coach James Gwyn have built a relationship that goes further than the sports they coach.
Between the two of them, they have combined to win almost 1,000 games, and almost all have been at Campbell. They are the senior coaches in the county, and nearly everyone that has come in contact with them have become better people. The combination is why the school will honor the coaches by naming their new basketball facility the Gwyn-McClure Gymnasium.
“The new gym will be good for the community and I, along with McClure, am honored,” Gwyn said. “Naming the gym after us just shows that we did it the right way. One day, we will both leave and we can say we gave everything we had to Campbell.”
McClure remains speechless from the honor.
“I am truly shocked honestly,” McClure said. “I have been here for 33 years, so I have seen all the ups and downs of the program. This is an amazing honor and the gym is phenomenal. It represents how far we have come as a program.”
The official honor will happen when school returns in the fall.
The Georgia High School Association does not have a pair of active coaches with more wins than Gwyn and McClure at one school.
Campbell athletic director Jeff Hutson said it was a no-brainer to honor Gwyn and McClure.
“Naming our basketball facility after Coach Gwyn and McClure wasn’t really much of a decision,” Hutson said. “Both have done a phenomenal job as coaches and as people in the Smyrna community. The only decision we had to make was who’s name to put first.”
Gwyn is originally from New Jersey, where he played football more than basketball. He played college football for St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana.
He served as an assistant in basketball at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. At Wheaton, Donnie Nelson, president and general manager of the Dallas Mavericks, was playing on the team.
Don, Donnie’s father, was coaching the Milwaukee Bucks at the time and was able to help teach Gwyn everything about coaching players.
Gwyn began coaching the Spartans in 1995-1996, two years after guiding North Clayton to a state title. He lived in Smyrna during the time of his run, opening the doors for Campbell to recruit him.
He has a 408-266 all-time record with Campbell and over 500 wins in his head coaching career.
McClure, from Charlotte, taught science at Willis High School in 1986. In 1990, he took the job as Campbell’s girls coach.
The Lady Spartans have appeared in the Georgia state tournament 17 of the last 19 seasons. On nine occasions, McClure guided the Lady Spartans to the elite eight or better.
He has a 491-316 record at Campbell.
Before the name Campbell, Smyrna High School was the original name about 30 years ago. Student bodies from old Campbell and Willis High School ignited the merger.
Since then, Campbell’s basketball teams have played at the old Willis gym, which was built in 1965.
The new gym seats 3,500 and opened last season. McClure says the gym is second to none.
“We were one of the last schools to have bleachers that didn’t retract,” he said. “You look at it now and it’s just wonderful. I thank the administration for putting all of this together.
Gwyn is excited to have his name honored alongside McClure.
“To have my name alongside McClure’s is extremely a blessing,” Gwyn said. “We have been here for so long and for kids we coached to come back and share that we have influenced them just speaks to us as being good coaches.”
Aside from the hardwood, the two coaches have capitalized on making and keeping relationships with the people they meet.
Hutson said Gwyn and McClure’s ability to love everyone is why they deserve the gym in their namesake.
“You don’t stay in the business of athletics for three decades without someone trying to get you fired,” Hutson said. “They have remained unharmed and unscathed by Cobb County community because they know how to foster positive relationships.”