Billy Lee Resigns As Men's Basketball Coach at Campbell UniversityTuesday, March 25, 2003
Billy Lee Resigns As Men's Basketball Coach at Campbell University
BUIES CREEK, N.C. Billy Lee, who has coached more games than anyone in Campbell University men's basketball history, is stepping down from his post after 18 seasons.
"Billy Lee is a wonderful person and a real asset to the Buies Creek community," said Director of Athletics Stan Williamson. " Billy has done an outstanding job representing Campbell University for the last 18 years in his role as basketball coach."
Lee, who has coached the Fighting Camels in 502 games since taking over the position prior to the 1985-86 campaign, has guided the program to its greatest moments as an NCAA Division I member. In addition, he has grown into a recognized motivational speaker who has addressed a number of different groups.
"Of the riches that the world has to offer, the opportunity to coach Division I basketball in the State of North Carolina at a school of the utmost academic integrity is indeed a cherished and treasured gift," said Coach Lee. "We have had some great seasons and we have had some difficult ones. My hopes and dreams for Campbell University Basketball have caused me to devote myself completely to the psychological, emotional and physical demands of being a Campbell Ambassador. It is time for new leadership in the program, and I would send my deepest gratitude to all the players, coaches, and unyielding fans that have helped us battle all odds."
With 216 career wins, Lee ranks behind only Danny Roberts (233 from 1969-83) and Fred McCall (231 from 1953-69) on Campbell's all-time coaching victories list.
"While I knew this moment would come, its arrival is all too rapid. Being the basketball coach at Campbell has been a real source of honor and pride for many through the years. My entire closet is adorned with Campbell Orange and rightfully so, since it is a place that I have grown to admire and respect," said Coach Lee.
During his tenure, Campbell players earned all-conference honors 16 times. Three were named Big South Player of the Year Clarence Grier (1987), Henry Wilson (1989) and Joe Spinks (1994).
Most recently, Fighting Camels have been named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team in each of the last three seasons, including Dominique Klein in 2002 and Robby Dupre in 2003.
"One of the most rewarding parts of coaching is to see your players graduate and become productive members of society. We have our share of those kind of people out in the working world, making a difference, of which I am thankful," said Lee.
In just his second campaign, Lee guided the Fighting Camels to the 1987 Big South Conference Tournament Championship game, the first of four appearances in a league title game for his Camel squads. He was named Coach of the Year of the Big South in 1987 and 1994 and was tabbed Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year in 1996.
Coach Lee's team again reached the Big South final in 1989, then in 1992, the Fighting Camels won the Big South tourney and captured the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament. Campbell lost an 82-56 decision to top-ranked and eventual national champion Duke in the first round at Greensboro, N.C., but Lee's Fighting Camels were the media darlings of the event.
Two years later, Campbell recorded its first-ever wins over members of the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences. The Camels shocked North Carolina State 72-69 in overtime at Reynolds Coliseum on Dec. 4, 1993, then defeated South Carolina 73-72 in overtime on Jan. 12, 1994 at Columbia. Later that season, the Camels advanced to the Big South Tournament final for the fourth time in eighth years.
Prior to arriving in Buies Creek, Lee was one of the nation's winningest coaches on the NAIA level at Pembroke State (now UNC Pembroke), where his clubs won 121 games in seven seasons. Lee's Braves captured three Carolinas Conference championships and advanced to the 1984 NAIA National Tournament at Kansas City, Mo.
A 1971 graduate of Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College, Lee began his coaching career which has spanned three decades in the State of North Carolina -- on the prep level, compiling a 71-29 mark at East Montgomery and New Bern High Schools. He earned a Master's degree in education from East Carolina in 1977 where he served as assistant coach for two years before accepting the Pembroke assignment.
Lee and his wife, the former Shirley Scarborough, are natives of Mount Olive, N.C. Their son, Brooks, completed his collegiate career this season as a point guard on the Campbell basketball team. He graduated in 2002 and is pursuing his master's degree in exercise science at Campbell.
A three-sport standout at Southern Wayne (N.C.) High School, Lee capped his prep career by playing in the 1967 North Carolina East-West All-Star Game. Brooks Lee played in the 1998 N.C. East-West contest.