Ken Campbell got his start in rowing in 1968 by filling in as a coxswain for local crews. A few years later, he began his journey as a volunteer in the sport at the 1970 World Championships, which were hosted in his hometown of St. Catharines. He ran results for the International Press Gallery at that seminal event and began his 49-year and counting affiliation with the St. Catharines Rowing Club shortly after. He would go on to wear many different hats over the years including coach, regatta chair, and club president, but found a passion for umpiring after obtaining his RCA Umpires License in 1980.

“I am very humbled and honored at this selection for the Row Ontario Hall of Fame,” said Campbell. “There are so many footsteps that I was able to follow and learn from over the years to help make this sport safe and fun for the athletes to be able to compete at their best. I hope that I have been able pass some of that onto other umpires and coaches to help them as well. Thank you to the nominating and selection committees and thank you to the St. Catharines Rowing Club for nominating me for this honour. And congratulations to the other inductees.”

Throughout his umpiring career, Campbell has umpired at countless local, provincial and national events and also made an impact on the international stage. After obtaining his umpire license he became a familiar face at the annual CSSRA, Ontario Rowing Championship, Royal Canadian Henley and National Championship regattas, working as a member of the jury at each throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. After gaining experience, Campbell would go on to chief umpire at many of these regattas, including at Henley from 2010-17. He obtained his FISA umpires license in 1992 and has since umpired at many major events including the World University Games (1993), Commonwealth Rowing Championships (1994, 2006, 2010), FISA World Masters Regatta (2009, 2010) World Rowing Championships (2005, 2011, 2017) and Pan American Games (1999, 2015, 2019).

Off the course, Campbell became a well-respected leader among the umpiring community who was an advocate for the advancement of the umpiring program and umpiring education. He has served as a mentor to countless umpires throughout his career, was an RCA Umpire Clinician from 1993-2017 and a Row Ontario chief umpire from 2004-08. In addition to his accomplishments as an umpire on and off the course, Campbell has also served in many other leadership positions over the years at the club, provincial and national levels.

Campbell’s first administrative volunteer position in rowing was as a board member with the St. Catharines Rowing Club in 1982. He would remain on the board until 1995, which included a stint as Club Captain from 1986-87 and President from 1991-93. He joined the CSSRA Board in 1988, a post he still currently holds, and was President from 1997-99. Campbell has also been a member of the CORA Board of Directors (1988-96) and Row Ontario Board of Directors (1991-2003 and received the RCA Presidents Award in 2002.

Career Highlights:

  • Obtained Umpire License in 1980
  • RCA Umpire Clinician (1993-2017)
  • Chief Umpire, Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (2010-17)
  • Obtained FISA License in 1992. Umpired at many major events including World University Games (1993), Commonwealth Rowing Championships (1994, 2006, 2010), FISA World Masters (2009-10), World Rowing Championships (2005, 2011, 2017), Pan Am Games (1999, 2015, 2019)
  • Well-respected leader in the Umpiring Community. Advocate for the advancement of the umpire program and umpire education