What were some key reasons you decided to attend Guilford?
I knew after high school I wanted to play college football. I didn’t have a lot of options when my senior season was over, so I took a trip to Guilford. Guilford has a storied past in football but it was stuck in some “dark years.” When I sat down with Coach (Chris) Rusiewicz, I got a great vibe from him. I believed he would be the guy to lead Guilford in the right direction and I wanted to play a small part in that.
What were some factors that helped you realize the success you enjoyed as a student at Guilford?
There were so many great opportunities Guilford provided to help me be successful and to enjoy my time there. The main factor besides football was working with Dave Walters in the sports information office and sports communications class. He allowed me to work with all types of sports and peeled back the part of sport you don’t really get to see. The production side of things was a lot deeper and harder than I thought, but he pushed me to reach great heights. Guilford also allowed me to have a great internship with the Greensboro Sports Commission and Demp Bradford. Demp was a key mentor to me throughout my college career and helped me achieve great success. I don’t think another college could have afforded me these opportunities.
What have you been up to since you left Guilford?
I have been very busy! I recently just got married to Casey (Snead) Campolieta ‘16, who I met at Guilford. We moved to her home in Richmond County where I became a teacher and coach. I currently teach in the business department at Hamlet Middle School. I also am the varsity football defensive backs coach and head men’s track coach at Richmond Senior High School.
How has Guilford prepared you for where you are today?
Guilford definitely prepared me for the life I’m living today. Guilford is such an open community where everyone is different but accepted. You don’t realize the skills that Guilford teaches you until you venture out into the real world. Guilford stresses a family first atmosphere that demands teamwork and excellence. These values have helped me in my life today.
What about your experience as a Guilford student-athlete has helped you the most?
Being a football player at Guilford taught me how to push myself to limits I didn’t know I had. Being a student-athlete taught me how to work hard, persevere, and to love. When you’re part of a team of 80-100 men who are all grinding for one goal, you learn to lean on one another for support. Countless times I had to lean on teammates for support such as Matt, Mitch, Crabtree, Chad, Reggie and more when I was struggling. As a coach now, I try to teach the kids the values I learned as a player.
What do you miss most about Guilford?
I miss being around friends all the time. I miss the daily grind in the weight room at 5:30 a.m. with Coach Z(ach Zullinger) and the boys. It goes by so fast you don’t really get a chance to enjoy it. As Guilford is a smaller school, the same guys you practiced with were the same guys you took English 102 with. It was such a great community that always did right by its students. I miss the late-night cram sessions and hanging out with everyone after a big win on Saturday!
What are your future plans?
I’m in a great place right now and haven’t thought about the future too much! I just got married, so I’m slowing down a little! I plan to keep coaching and hope to become a head coach one day.
What is one thing a high school student-athlete considering college needs to know?
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s not the game you see on Saturdays that make a football team, it’s the work you put in 365 days a year. It’s a full-time job, and you better be able to stay focused and energized, not only on the field but in the classroom. Also, when being recruited the most important thing is to find the school that you love even without sports. Look at schools with a major that interests you and what type of community the school provides. You always want to look at the school before you look at the sport. If you don’t love the school, it will be hard to make it all four years and be happy.
Identify and describe one or two of your favorite moments or experiences while at Guilford
My freshman year we were playing a Thursday night game versus Bridgewater. It was an exciting game we were expected to win and we scored a late touchdown in order to clinch the victory. It’s such a great moment for me because that game kind of turned the tides of the football program and propelled us to great success.
Identify and describe one or two of your favorite moments or experiences while at Guilford.
The best experiences I had at Guilford were the times spent grinding with my teammates. From the early runs and lifts to the late practices, and long road trips. There was never a dull moment. It was so special, especially my last two years because we had 80-100 guys all working for one goal and pushing each other to the limit. Those are memories that I will hold for a lifetime. We had such a great time during road games and bonding with one another. Being a part of the football program at Guilford was life-changing.