When Jane (Morrill) Campbell started playing basketball at nine years old, she didn’t know where the hoops sport she would grow to love would take her. Along the way, she would also shine on the diamond.
Now, a decade after she walked the halls of Notre Dame, Campbell views what she did as a Lady Bulldog as her prep career that turned into a Division I career.
Campbell said she played both softball and basketball for most of her years growing up. “My life revolved around sports,” she said. “I was always excitedly counting down the days till the next game. By the time I needed to make a decision on which sport to play in college, the offers to play basketball were more promising. Seemed like my heart was dead set on playing basketball for as long as I could.”
Campbell is a member of Notre Dame’s 1,000-point club and was named All-State her senior year when she led her team to a state championship appearance. “My most memorable ND basketball moment was definitely my senior year when we made it all the way to the state championship game,” she said. “Even though we didn’t get the first place trophy, we accomplished so much that year. Looking back, the feeling of accomplishment that I and my teammates had is still unforgettable.”
On the softball diamond, Campbell was a standout performer on ND’s 2009 state championship team, earning All-State during her senior season.
After being so close the previous year, Campbell said it was a dream come true to finally get over the hump in 2009. “Getting the chance to finally win state after knowing what it felt like to have lost was not only an amazing feeling of accomplishment but a sense of relief,” she said. “The expectation we had for ourselves to win state was with us for four years and our last year we finally made it happen. And there really was no greater feeling.”
Campbell said it’s great going into the hall of fame with softball teammate Lauren (Reinagel) Pobst.
“I am very honored to be by Lauren’s side being inducted into the hall of fame,” she said. “She and I had played ball together for several years. Getting to be her teammate and watch her achieve all her goals as an amazing pitcher was very cool. It was always amazing to me that during stressful moments in a game, Lauren was always confident and calm.”
“I always had a sense of relief knowing she would be able to pitch her way out of any tough spot. She made my job pretty easy playing shortstop behind her and it brings me great joy knowing she has reached yet another great achievement. I am just so very happy for her!”
Campbell’s ability to thrive in multiple sports helped write her ticket to Notre Dame Regional High School Athletics Hall of Fame. “It is a tremendous honor to have been inducted into ND Hall of Fame,” she said. “I am incredibly blessed to have been given this honor. I want to thank my family and coaches who supported me and pushed me to be the best I could be.”
Though she excelled in each of the sports she played, it was basketball that led Campbell to Arkansas State. “Between my sophomore and junior years I began playing AAU basketball as a way to keep in shape and expand my talents,” she said. “I was unaware of the amount of exposure to college scouts that this experience would bring. During this time, the thought of actually being able to play at the next level became a reality.”
Sports are often more about what happens off the court or field than on; it’s about the relationships cultivated during careers. For Campbell, it’s about that and much more.
“By playing sports, I was able to develop skills that would benefit me the rest of my life,” she said. “Learning how to work and communicate within a team, as well as multitasking daily activities, are skills that I developed as a student-athlete that I use every day. My life as an athlete taught me that no matter what hardship I may face, hard work and dedication to the goal will allow me to triumph.”
Campbell lives in Belleville, Illinois, with her husband, Jake, and their daughter. She works as an optical technician at Clarkson Eyecare. “My ultimate goal in life is to be the best wife and momma for my family,” she said.