Louis P. Campanelli (August 10, 1938 – January 31, 2023) was an American basketball coach. He served as head coach at James Madison University from 1972 to 1985 and the University of California, Berkeley from 1986 to 1993.

Lou Campanelli
Biographical details
BornElizabeth, New Jersey, US
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1972–1985James Madison Dukes
1986–1993California Golden Bears

Early life


Campanelli was born on August 10, 1938, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair State University.[1]

Coaching career


James Madison


Campanelli was head coach at James Madison for 13 years (1972–85) where he guided the Dukes to a record of 238–118 and five NCAA Tournament appearances. His 21-year head coaching record stands at 361–226 (.615).



Campanelli played a significant role in Pac-10 men's basketball, having served as head basketball coach at California for eight years, from 1985 to 1993. He compiled a record of 123–108 (.532) and led the Bears to post-season play on four occasions. In his first season, he led Cal to the 1986 National Invitation Tournament, the school's first postseason bid kind since 1960. In 1990, he led the Bears to their first NCAA Tournament in 30 years.

Campanelli was abruptly fired on February 8, 1993 with ten games to go in the 1992–93 season. Athletic director Bob Bockrath inadvertently heard Campanelli give profanity-laced lectures to his players following losses to Arizona State and Arizona. Several players, including freshman Jason Kidd, had complained to Bockrath about his abrasive coaching style, but Bockrath said he had no idea how "beaten down" the players had been until then.[2]

Later career


After college coaching, Campanelli also coached one year in the Japan Pro League, spent several years as an advance scout for the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers and New Jersey Nets, and served as Commissioner of Pac 10 Officiating.[1]

Campenelli coached the junior varsity basketball team at Campolindo High School in Moraga, California, starting as a volunteer assistant.[3]

Personal life and death


Campanelli grew up in Springfield, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair State University, where he also earned his master's degree. He resided in Livermore, California.

Campanelli died on January 31, 2023, at the age of 84.[4]



In 2015, Campanelli wrote a book titled Dare to Dream: How James Madison University Became Coed and Shocked the Basketball World, about his dream of becoming a college basketball coach and his accomplishment of growing the all-girl Madison college athletics program into a successful men's NCAA basketball team.

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
James Madison Dukes (Virginia College Athletic Association) (1972–1975)
1972–73 James Madison 16–10
1973–74 James Madison 20–6 NCAA Division II first round
1974–75 James Madison 19–6
James Madison Dukes () (1975–1977)
1975–76 James Madison 18–9 NCAA Division II first round
1976–77 James Madison 17–9
James Madison Dukes (Eastern College Athletic Conference) (1977–1979)
1977–78 James Madison 18–8 6–2
1978–79 James Madison 18–8 9–5
James Madison Dukes (ECAC South) (1979–1985)
1979–80 James Madison 18–8 7–3
1980–81 James Madison 21–9 11–2 1st NCAA Division I second round
1981–82 James Madison 24–6 10–1 1st NCAA Division I second round
1982–83 James Madison 20–11 6–3 2nd NCAA Division I second round
1983–84 James Madison 15–14 5–5 T–4th
1984–85 James Madison 14–14 7–7 5th
James Madison: 238–118 (.669)
California Golden Bears (Pacific-10 Conference) (1985–1993)
1985–86 California 19–10 11–7 3rd NIT first round
1986–87 California 20–15 10–8 T–3rd NIT quarterfinal
1987–88 California 9–20 5–13 T–8th
1988–89 California 20–13 10–8 5th NIT second round
1989–90 California 22–10 12–6 3rd NCAA Division I second round
1990–91 California 13–15 8–10 T–5th
1991–92 California 10–18 4–14 9th
1992–93 California* 10–7* 4–5*
California: 123–108 (.532) 64–71 (.474)
Total: 361–226 (.615)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

*Campanelli was fired in February 1993; California credits the first 17 games of the regular season to Campanelli.


  1. ^ a b "Legendary JMU Coach Lou Campanelli Dies at 84".
  2. ^ Friend, Tom (1993-02-15). "Words Got The Best of Cal Coach". New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  3. ^ "Leung: Even at the JV level, Campanelli has never stopped teaching basketball". 27 September 2011.
  4. ^ JMU Athletics Mourns Passing of Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Lou Campanelli