ANAHEIM (CBSLA) – A longtime Orange County girls softball coach and former Inglewood police detective died early Monday morning of cancer.
Mark Campbell, who coached at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, collapsed Sunday on a field in Fullerton while coaching the 14 and under OC Batbusters, a club team.
He was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to remove blood clots, according to his family. However, during the surgery, doctors discovered he had liver and stomach cancer.
“My mom had to drive like six hours, my little sister had to fly home,” his daughter, Erika Campbell, told CBS2 Monday. “But my dad was able to push through until we were all there. So he waited until we were all together to leave us.”
Campbell joined the Inglewood Police Department as an officer in 1982, and became a detective in 1996. He retired from the force in 2011.
Following his retirement, Campbell focused fully on coaching softball. He coached thousands of young women and girls over the years, and even took a team to the Little League Softball World Series. Along with coaching at Pacifica High, he co-owned the Sports Training Complex (STC) in Anaheim, a facility which helped baseball and softball athletes develop their skills.
Campbell “will be greatly missed by the innumerable people that he influenced throughout his life,” Pacific High’s athletic department tweeted Monday. “He is the shining example of a true Mariner.”
Dozens of Campbell’s friends, family and current and former players, reeling from the shock of his death, turned out for a tearful vigil Monday evening at STC to honor and remember him.
“Honestly, he died doing what he loved the most,” Erika said. “He coached softball until he absolutely couldn’t anymore, and that’s exactly how he would have wanted to go.”
Campbell is survived by his wife, four children and two grandchildren.