Friar great Bruce “Soup” Campbell dies
Friday, March 08, 2013
The Providence Friar family has lost another good one.
Bruce "Soup" Campbell, who played forward for the Friars from 1974-78 and was a part of two NIT and two NCAA tournament teams under Dave Gavitt, passed away Thursday night after a long fight with cancer. He was 57 years old.
Campbell grew up in New Haven, CT and became a high school star at Wilbur Cross High School, showcasing his shooting and dribbling skills as a 6-9 forward. Gavitt won a recruiting battle with an estimated 300 schools for his services. "Soup's" career bridged those of Ernie DiGregorio, Marvin Barnes and Kevin Stacom with those of Bob Misevicius, Bill Eason and Joe Hassett on some great Friar teams in the '70's. In 1976, teamed with Hassett and Misevicius, PC pulled off a shocker by beating #1-ranked Michigan at the Providence Civic Center.
One of nine children, Campbell was - at first - hesitant to play basketball. Urged by his mother to make something of himself, Campbell worked hard at improving his skills at New Haven's Wilber Cross, and eventually he was named an honorable mention all-American at Providence. He finished his high school career with 1737 points, and 1300 rebounds; at PC, Campbell scored 1809 points (7th all time at PC) and pulled down 949 rebounds (also 7th). He was a draft choice of the New Jersey Nets, and ended up playing 10 professional seasons overseas in Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Great Britain. Campbell was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004.
His son Bruce inherited his father's size and athletic ability, and at 6-6, 315 pounds he played college football at Maryland and became a 4th round draft choice of the NFL's Oakland Raiders. He spent this past season with the Carolina Panthers.
Generally considered to be one of the greatest high school players to come out of Connecticut, Campbell was a frequent visitor to the Dunkin Donuts Center to see the Friars play, and to catch up on things with his former teammate Joe Hassett.