University of Miami

UM all-around great athlete, coach Whitey Campbell dies at 89

Whitey Campbell, widely considered UM’s greatest all-around athlete, died Tuesday at 89.
Whitey Campbell, widely considered UM’s greatest all-around athlete, died Tuesday at 89. Courtesy UM

Alexander Carr “Whitey” Campbell is known by many as the University of Miami’s greatest all-around athlete, and it’s easy to understand why.

Campbell, who died at age 89 on Tuesday in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, is the only Hurricanes athlete who lettered all four years in three sports: football, baseball and basketball.

The first Canes basketball player to score 1,000 points in a career, he attended UM from 1946-50, was voted into UM’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1970, and was named the Outstanding Athlete for the first 25 years of Hurricanes athletics.

“He was an awesome man,’’ Richard Campbell, one of Campbell’s nine children, said Thursday by phone. “Miami athletics were really special to him, and he had a big role there. Even after he left he followed the UM football and baseball teams.

“That was his joy.’’

In baseball, Campbell hit .301 as a freshman, .412 as a sophomore, .328 as a junior and .428 as a senior.

Being a great player was only the beginning of Campbell’s ties to UM — and eventually beyond — in an illustrious career of athletics. He also coached.

Campbell coached UM’s baseball team in 1958 and from 1960-62, compiling a 69-36-3 record before the legendary Ron Fraser took over. He was an assistant UM football coach at various times in his career and also coached at the Naval Academy, Kentucky, Montana and as the New Orleans Saints’ special teams coordinator.

Campbell was born in New York City and grew up in Caldwell, New Jersey. His son said he spent his entire adult life coaching at various levels before he retired in the mid-1980s.

Campbell also is survived by his wife Donna Campbell.

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