Coach Greg Kampe: Getting the Athletes to Believe

Coach Greg Kampe: Getting the Athletes to Believe
June 06, 2022 | | 5 min read

To survive in this profession, you have to believe in yourself, and believe in what you do. You have to get the young men on your team to believe in it.

Coach Greg Kampe has been coaching basketball for around 45 years. Coming out of high school he was heavily recruited for football. However, he wanted to go to a school that would allow him to play basketball and football. Thus, he accepted a scholarship from Bowling Green since they would allow him to play basketball after the football season was over. 

After graduating college, Coach Kampe had an important decision to make. He had the choice of trying out for the Seattle Seahawks or accepting a G.A. position at Toledo for their Men’s Basketball Team. At the time, NFL players were not making the same kind of money that they are now, so he ended up accepting the G.A. position at Toledo. Shortly after, he was promoted to the assistant coach. One day, the baseball coach walked into his office and told him that a head coaching position opened up for the Men’s Basketball Team at Oakland University. His response, 

I’m not moving to California.

He quickly found out that Oakland University is actually located Rochester, Michigan. Thus, he quickly drove up to see the campus and applied for the position. After going through the interview process, they offered him the position and he gladly accepted. He has stuck with the program ever since and is entering his 39th year at the university. 

Today’s All In Takeaway’s are around what keeps Coach Kampe coaching for over 40 years and how he is able to build a strong team culture. 

All In Takeaway #1: Getting the Athletes to Believe

What originally got Coach Kampe into coaching was his competitive nature. However, as time went on and he was able to gain more experience, his desire for coaching has completely changed. Now, what keeps him coaching is being about to see 18- to 22-year-old men develop and move on into their professions. 

It is a gratifying and satisfying profession.

Because of how long he has been coaching for, Coach Kampe has athletes who are in their 50’s who he still keeps up with to this day. Although it is rewarding, Coach Kampe was quick to remind Josh from All In, how difficult the profession can be. Over the years, Coach Kampe has been forced to adapt in order to stick around in coaching. His advice, 

Don’t change the message, change the tactics.

Coach Kampe has changed the way he executes various functions of his program as he aims to get the players to believe in him and what they are doing. 

All In Takeaway #2: How to Build a Team Culture that allows the Athletes to Believe in the Program 

The way that Coach Kampe forms a strong team culture over the years, has completely changed. Ultimately, this is due to the changing needs of his athletes. How does he figure out what his athletes need? 

Today as a leader, you have to get in the trenches with them, and find out what they want.

Coach Kampe is able to figure out through becoming engrained with the team what their needs are and how he can best suit them. However, one thing that has stayed constant over the years for Coach Kampe are his non-negotiables that every program must have. For him, on the court they must have spacing, sprint, and share the ball. The team also has non-negotiables set for off the court, in the locker room, and so on. Coaches, in order to get your athletes to believe in you, you MUST have non-negotiables. 


Coach Kampe is getting ready to enter his 39th year as the Men’s Head Basketball Coach at Oakland University. Coach Kampe is a coach who truly cares about the development of his players, on and off the court. As he gets ready to enter the 2022-2023 season, it will be exciting to see how the team performs. Go Grizzlies!

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