C.J. CampbellCampbell posted the news on his Facebook page Wednesday evening, and has confirmed it to InterMat.
Oklahoma City University issued this statement to InterMat Thursday afternoon: "OCU athletic director Jim Abbott says, 'Coach Campbell is no longer employed at Oklahoma City University. We are currently searching for our next head coach.'"
"I have had the honor and privilege of working with some great people, outstanding coaches, and wonderful student-athletes during my time at Oklahoma City University," Campbell wrote on Facebook. "This year was the most difficult year I have had as a coach. There were several ups and downs and lots of difficult decisions to make. Ultimately my efforts were not enough to withstand the tides of change. I have been fired as the head wrestling coach at Oklahoma City University and will be looking for additional opportunities to continue coaching."
Campbell had headed up the men's program at OKCU for the past two years after the departure of long-time head coach Archie Randall, who he had worked for as an assistant coach.
Campbell learned of his dismissal Tuesday, upon returning from the 2018 NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) National Championships, where the Stars placed 20th in the overall team standings (an improvement over 2017's 23rd place), with two NAIA All-Americans.
Campbell admitted the firing caught him off guard.
When asked about the reason for his dismissal, Campbell told InterMat, "In my second year, there was some bad behavior on the part of some wrestlers. Nothing criminal. I had to dismiss them."
"I was told I was being let go because of a problem with retention and GPA (grade point average)."
"Dismissing those kids ultimately cost me my job."
Campbell described the past season as being a "challenging year."
"We originally had a 27-man roster, which was pretty typical for the program in recent years," the former OKCU men's coach said. "A total of ten wrestlers left during the season, including three who I dismissed initially for disciplinary reasons."
"Coaches need to be responsible for their decisions," Campbell continued. "All those decisions were made from a place of love, and concern for the individual athletes, and for the team as a whole."
Campbell said that the program ended the season with an 8-2 dual-meet record. The Stars finished second in the qualifying tournament for the NAIA Nationals.
"I wish the person who takes the head coaching position all the best," Campbell said. "We had a strong recruiting class. We signed six before the Oklahoma state championships, all individuals with a high GPA and solid ACT scores."
Campbell plans to continue his coaching career that, prior to Oklahoma City University, included a stint at University of Jamestown in North Dakota.
"Ultimately I am not ready to give up on my passion of coaching. My life was changed by my wrestling coaches and I wish to continue this journey to give back to this great community. There are too many young people's lives who need to be changed for the better and I feel I am still equipped to make a difference."
Founded in 1904, Oklahoma City University is a private, four-year school located in Oklahoma City. The school has an enrollment of approximately 2,800 students.