By Rubin E. Grant
Hoover volleyball coach Chris Camper has been thinking about retiring for a few years, and he finally decided now was the time.
“It’s about spending time with my family,” Camper explained as his primary reason for retiring. “It’s been a great run. I am at peace with it.”
Camper said he purchased a farm in Sterrett in Shelby County and wanted to spend more time with his three children. His son, Carson, is a senior basketball and baseball player at Chelsea and his daughters, Jordan and Makenna, are volleyball players.
“I’m ready to do something different and I want to watch them play,” Camper said.
Camper did not want to discuss a report that one of the reasons he was retiring was parental interference in the Over the Mountain community.
“I was just answering a question honestly,” he said. “I don’t want this to be about me complaining.”
Camper has coached for 22 years, the last 10 at Hoover, where he compiled a 378-109 record and won the 2020 Class 7A state championship.
The Bucs finished 50-1 last year while claiming their first state championship with what Camper called a “once-in-a-lifetime” team. He was named the 2020 VolleyballMag.com High School Coach of the Year.
Camper said the title didn’t hasten his decision to retire a year later, but “it filled a gap or a hole.”
“It was nice to win one,” he added. “But I have 25 years in the state retirement system, so it was a good time.”
This season, the Bucs finished 29-16 and reached the Class 7A North Regional before being eliminated by eventual state champion Spain Park.
Camper has an overall career record of 772-304, including stops at Erwin (now Center Point), Spain Park and Mountain Brook. He led teams to the state playoffs 18 times with 11 overall trips to the Elite 8 state tournament and three appearances in the Elite 8 finals.
More than 50 of his players earned scholarships to play volleyball.
Camper informed his players of his decision Friday.
“I think they took it OK,” he said. “I try to be honest with my players. They knew I was getting toward the end. They also know I enjoy being a part of the Hoover volleyball program.
“I told them how much I truly enjoyed coaching them, that it was a pleasure and a privilege to coach so many great teams.”
Camper plans to continue teaching through the end of the school year.
Spain Park head football coach Shawn Raney has resigned after nine years at the helm.
Raney had a 54-43 overall record at Spain Park, but the Jaguars struggled through a 2-8 season this fall, which was the worst mark in program history.
“Coach Raney has done an excellent job serving SPHS students and the community, and the administration would like to thank Coach Raney for his dedication to the school and the football program,” Hoover City Schools said in a statement. “The school wishes him success in his future endeavors. A search for Coach Raney’s replacement will take place in the near future.”
Raney has extensive experience coaching in high school and college, including assistant coaching stops at Hoover and Oak Mountain and in college at UAB and Iowa State.