Youth advocate Mike Clampitt leaves legacy for Hobbs community with Boys and Girls Club
Mike Clampitt was described by those who knew him as untiring, unflinching, influential, dedicated to area youth and more.
The long-time director of the Boys and Girls Club of Hobbs died about 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lubbock Heart Hospital in Lubbock, Texas. He was 71. Funeral services will be Friday, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m. at Christian Center Church in Hobbs.
“He was very influential in our community,” Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb said of his virtually life-long friend. “He had a great influence on so many young men and women in Hobbs.”
Clampitt started as Chief Professional Officer at the Boys and Girls Club in Hobbs in April 2000. Though he’d talked about retirement with Cobb just a couple months ago, he was still committed to working with the area’s youth.
“Mike said he still enjoyed what he was doing and he planned to keep on doing it,” Cobb said. “He was a Hobbsan through and through, an Eagle through and through.”
Cobb and Clampitt were friends for decades, from when they met in the second grade at Broadmoor Elementary through graduating from Hobbs High School with the class of 1970.
And through the years, as the boys grew to men, they maintained their friendship along with a tight “circle of friends,” Cobb said, through school and church activities and beyond.
“We spent a lot of time at Broadmoor, playing basketball on the playground out there. During baseball season we’d play baseball at Triangle Park. In football season, we played football.”
Athletics were also important to Clampitt, Cobb said.
Clampitt played for Ralph Tasker on the storied state championship basketball team in 1970 that averaged a state and national record 115 points per game.
And, in 1970, Clampitt was drafted as a short stop by the Chicago Cubs baseball team in the 47th round.
“A lot of people didn’t know that because he was so humble, he didn’t wear it on his sleeve,” said Bob Reed, retired CEO of the JF Maddox Foundation in Hobbs. “He’d always get red in the face when I told people about that. I was always amazed how reluctant he was to talk about it.”
But that was Clampitt to a tee, Reed said. His past was in the past, Clampitt was focused entirely on area children.
“Hobbs has lost a hero,” Reed said. “He was nothing less than a hero.
“There aren’t a lot of people today willing to subordinate themselves to a purpose and a cause. There was never any question how Mike subordinated himself to the cause of children.”
Reed and Clampitt got acquainted working to build the current Boys and Girls Club facility on East Broadway Street in Hobbs. And Clampitt’s legacy through the club will be eternal, Reed said.
“Probably the most exciting time I ever had was to see his face at the opening of the Boys and Girls Club,” he said. “To say he was excited would be a huge understatement.
“But he wasn’t an employee of the Boys and Girls Club, he was an enthusiast for the Boys and Girls Club of Hobbs. He personified it.”
TJ Parks, retired superintendent for Hobbs Schools, now CEO for JF Maddox, agreed. Clampitt’s desire to help children extended beyond the brick, glass and steel of the club building, Parks said. Realizing some children might have difficulties getting to the club on a regular basis, Clampitt started Boys and Girls Club afterschool programs on every elementary campus in the Hobbs Municipal Schools.
“I think that just exemplified who he was,” Parks said. “He just wanted to make sure every kids had that opportunity. Even watching my grandson play and other kids play, (Clampitt) wanted to make sure kids had a level playing field and had a chance to be successful.”
Parks also agreed with his Maddox Foundation predecessor on the impact Clampitt had.
“Mike Clampitt was the Boys and Girls Club,” Parks said. “It will continue to move along, but when you think of the Boys and Girls Club, you think of Mike Clampitt. I couldn’t give any better tribute to him than that.”
And Clampitt wasn’t afraid to get others involved in his work. Current Hobbs Dist. 3 City Commissioner Larron Fields was a volunteer referee and coach for the Boys and Girls Club before Clampitt’s time, he said, but stayed involved in the club after Clampitt took over operations.
“Mike Clampitt was very approachable,” Fields said. “He was concerned about the youth in the community.”
Fields met with Clampitt on numerous occasions to discuss what Hobbs youth needed and how to help them. And Fields shared Clampitt’s infectious passion and heart, he said.
“He’s going to be greatly missed,” Fields said. “Mike really did some great things for the Boys and Girls Club. He encouraged a lot of young people.”
And his desire to help worked both ways, Parks said. Almost without exception, Clampitt was willing to take on any challenge, face any odds, to advocate for and promote both the club and the kids who attended programs there, he said.
“He was just the guy that every time you asked him to do something he was willing to do it,” Parks said. “If you could prove to Mike it was good for kids he went out of his way to make sure it happened.
“I’m not sure Mike ever did anything for Mike. Every thought he had was for the kids of this community.”
And you’d be hard pressed to find a corner of the Hobbs community where the name Mike Clampitt didn’t elicit a knowing nod or smile, said Kenneth Fadke, president of the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors.
“Most of the community knew Mike,” Fadke said. “They knew he put the Boys and Girls Club first.
“I can remember Mike when I was playing ball at the Boys and Girls Club. He was always there. He’d do anything for you. He was a great man.”
One thing everyone agreed on was how important Clampitt’s 23-plus year tenure was to the Boys and Girls Club of Hobbs.
There would almost certainly be a club in Hobbs if Clampitt had never got involved, but it would be a very different club indeed, they said.
“The Boys and Girls Club today absolutely would not be the same without Mike,” Reed said. “He gave confidence to reach higher.”
“A lot of it is Mike created this culture,” Parks said. The Maddox Foundation board and the community “invested in Mike and invested in the kids.
“He had a passion for every child. I think the way he operated with the Boys and Girls Club was to give every kid a chance to succeed.”