MEDFORD—The North Medford softball program enters the new season set to begin life without Mike Mayben.
After a 12-year run as head coach, Mayben decided to step down and give way to former assistant Chris Campbell.
Going into his seventh season with the team, Campbell is well-versed on the big shoes he must fill—the Black Tornado are eight-time reigning Southwest Conference champions and for the first time since 2014, defending state champions.
“It’s exciting,” Campbell said. “I look forward to a great year. I look forward to carrying on the tradition that North Medford has had for a long time—to compete and put the best program on the field as we can and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Campbell recalled the moment Mayben told him he wouldn’t be returning.
"I was shocked,” he said. “I wasn't prepared for that. I've enjoyed working with Mike for a long time and then he approached me and said, 'Hey you need to really consider taking over the program,' and I said, ‘Let me discuss it with my wife and figure out what's best for us.’ So then I had some long talks with Mike and decided, yeah, that's the way I wanted to go."
In regards to the outlook for the 2018 season, Campbell offered an optimistic outlook.
“We’ve got a young team,” he said. “We graduated nine seniors last year, but the nice thing about the program is we’ve been preparing for this. We started out with a very young group of girls… and they learn the tradition of what we have at a very young age. When they come in, they’re ready to play.”