Trey Camps is entering his third year as Eastside football's offensive line coach while also offering his services as an assistant baseball coach. Citizen sports editor Colin Hubbard caught up with Camps to talk about his time as a graduate assistant at Valdosta State, as well as how he made his way to Eastside three years ago.
CH: I Saw that you’re from Macon, Georgia originally?
TC: Yeah, I went to Central High School in Macon and played football and baseball there all four years. I played on the offensive line and was a catcher on the baseball team.
CH: Did you ever have a chance to go play in college anywhere or were you dead set on going to Valdosta State just as a student?
TC: I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to go anywhere. I didn’t really look at any small schools. Maybe I would have had a shot, but I don’t know. I just wanted to go to school and enjoy college for what it was. It ended up working out.
CH: How was your time at Valdosta State? I know you’re always tweeting about Valdosta State football, so I’m guessing it was a pretty fun experience going there?
TC: Yeah, going down there, I knew they were a good program. Most of my undergrad, I was at the home games and even traveled to a few of the away games. I went to the national title game in 2012 when they won it my sophomore year. Being around that a lot, I ended up getting in touch with a couple of coaches in the area and spent a couple of years as a community coach at one of the private schools. That was kind of the start to me getting into coaching. I ended up changing my major from athletic training to physical education because I knew that I wanted to be on the coaching side of it as opposed to the training side.
CH: What private school was it that you helped coach at?
TC: It was Valwood School which is just outside of Valdosta in Hahira. I got in touch with their head coach, Ashley Henderson, who is now the head coach at Thomas County Central. He ended up taking me on as a community coach and I coached running backs for two years. He actually got me hooked up with coach David Dean at Valdosta State and that’s where I started my graduate assistantship with the football team for a couple of years.
CH: Was that a really cool experience getting to work with Valdosta State football?
TC: Yeah, it was fun. For the four years before that, I was just a student and a big fan. Getting to see the other side of it, I knew that it was something that I’d been wanting to do since I was in high school. I knew that I wanted to try to get into coaching college football. Even though it was a smaller Division II program, it was one of those things where you get to see a lot of inner workings of how things operate on a day-to-day basis. The connections that I made and the guys that I worked for, a lot of them are still in college, so it helps me contact them with guys that we have that are good enough to get recruited. I stay in touch with a lot of the guys that I coached with, so it broadened my network, but also taught me more about football than I had ever known. That knowledge and experience, you can’t put a price on that.
CH: What was your job with Valdosta State football while you were there?
TC: I was in a unique position. With it being a smaller school, some of the graduate assistants actually had some of their own position groups. I was the fullbacks and tight ends coach by title. I did a lot of work with our offensive line coach, Jeremy Darveau, who is now the offensive line coach down at South Florida. He was our recruiting coordinator, so I did a lot of on-campus recruiting stuff. I was pretty much his right-hand man in recruiting for the two years that I was there.
CH: How did you wind up coaching at Eastside? Was that just a matter of you looking for a full-time teaching position?
TC: I was in the process of getting engaged to my now wife and was getting ready to settle down. We were looking for something a little more stable than a college football job and somewhere where I was home more. So I knew I wanted to go back to high school from that aspect of it. I went with my offensive line coach, Darveau to a couple clinics that he was speaking at. He spoke at one in Orlando and one in Atlanta. Just by chance, the last talks that he had in Atlanta, he introduced me to the coaches that were there and told them that I was looking for a job. Coach (Troy) Hoff happened to be in that clinic talk and came up and talked to me. He gave me his card and told me that he didn’t have anything open at that time, but to keep in touch. A couple of weeks later, Hoff texted me one morning and asked me if I was still looking for a job. He had an opening and within a week, he had an interview set up. Once they offered me the job, I felt pretty good about it and felt like I was in a good spot. Two years into it now, I don’t think I could have landed in a better place.
CH: You jumped on board at a great time. Last year, Eastside football makes a historic run to the Elite 8 and has an undefeated regular season. What has the experience been like in your two years here in being a part of such a great team and coaching staff?
TC: Coach Hoff has been great. He cares more than a lot of head coaches. He’s kind of breeded this family bond within our staff. I’ve just learned a lot from the guys on staff. Coach (Jay) Cawthon has been doing it longer than I’ve been alive, which I don’t think is quite true, but it’s close. Our kids, they’re not always the biggest or the fastest, but the two years that I’ve been here, we’ve had some of the hardest nosed kids and hardest working kids that I’ve been around. We might not always be the prettiest team when we walk off of the bus, but I know we’re going to give whoever we’re playing a good fight.
CH: What’s it been like working with the Eastside offensive line?
TC: It’s been a lot of fun. I had Benson my first year and we’ve graduated a few guys here and there. Now, it’s fun to get to this point where I’ve got Pierce Downs and Bryant Byrd who have been with me for what will be three years. To see them grow over the last couple years has been a lot of fun. It has been really gratifying.
CH: With you going into your 7th year coaching, how much better do you feel like you’ve gotten coaching the game of football?
TC: I’ve learned things from each of the guys that I’ve worked under. I was a kid going into that first year at Valwood thinking, ‘I know football, how hard could this be?’ I’ve learned more about the coaching part of it and learned more football in the past six years than I ever thought there was when I first started. Coaching the offensive line at Eastside, I feel like I’m able to me more of myself. I can be louder, a little more animated and intense. I think I’ve finally found my niche.
CH: You coach a good amount of baseball over at Eastside with coach Brandon Crumbley. Talk me through how you got on board with that?
TC: Coach Crumbley had gotten the interim job and I had already agreed to come on staff. I had coached some middle school baseball while I was at Valwood. I figured coaching baseball at Eastside would be a good thing to do in the spring when it’s slow with football. It’s been one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. I’m really close with coach Crumbley and our whole staff. It’s really a family environment. It never really stops. I’m either in football talking about baseball or i’m in baseball talking about football.
CH: What would you say are your ultimate goals as far as coaching?
TC: I’ve always had a love for both football and baseball, but my love for football will always run a little deeper. So when I envision me moving forward and advancing, I think I want to advance more on the football side of things. That natural next step would be to become an offensive coordinator and eventually I’d like to maybe try and be a head coach down the road. When I was first starting out, I had this laid out plan where I was going to be. Offensive coordinator by this age and so on. I tend to get in a hurry when doing things and not enjoying them while they’re happening. I’m always worried about what is next. Being at Eastside, it has slowed me down in terms of trying to enjoy the moment more. If those things happen down the road, whether it’s two years from now or 10, that’s great. But for now, I’m focused on staying in the moment and enjoying my time at Eastside.