How many athletes had the opportunity to play in four national championship games in a two-year period?
Not many. But Bob Campese was one of the fortunate few.
At Ithaca College (Class of 1982), he was an all-East selection on the football field and baseball diamond. IC football won the ’79 Stagg Bowl (Division III national title game) and the ’80 Bombers took home the baseball championship. That made Campese one of just five athletes to win two NCAA titles in the same school year.
He had starred at Henninger High (Class of ’78). An All-American shortstop his senior year, Campese was twice an all-City selection in baseball. The Black Knights won two City titles, Bob’s home run at MacArthur Stadium beating Corcoran for the ’78 crown. And for Henninger football teams that won 15 of 17 games, he was a two-time all-Central New York pick.
Collegiately, the all-East safety had eight interceptions during the ’81 season, still an IC record. And he was an all-East outfielder sporting a .364 career batting average. Bob holds the school record for triples and walks in a game. As a senior, he was IC’s Athlete of the Year.
In 1982, Campese was the Empire League Player of the Year for the Syracuse Americans semi-pro football team and had a league leading 11 interceptions. With the ’85 Syracuse Express semi-pro team, Campese won a third national title.
From 1986-2003, he coached scholastic football at his alma mater. Those Henninger teams went 105-36-2, including eight league, five sectional, four regional and one state title (in 1990) - and had an outstanding .741 winning percentage.
He was named 1990 New York State Coach of the Year when his top-ranked team won the states. He was also the all-CNY Coach of the Year in ’90 and ’95.
Campese was a coach/assistant principal/athletic director at East Syracuse-Minoa from 2004-2015. He was the football offensive coordinator at ESM for five years – during which time the school won four league and two sectional titles. And since 2005, he has chaired the Section 3 Football Committee.
The 1995 Ithaca College Sports Hall of Fame inductee will be enshrined in the New York State USSSA Softball Hall of Fame in March. And now, Bob Campese becomes a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, Class of 2016.