Mitchell’s coaching skills in football, too

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

GALLMAN — Copiah Academy head football coach Mitch Mitchellknows football and basketball very well. Better known for hisseveral outstanding Lady Colonels basketball teams, Mitchell isalso an expert in football too.

When Mitchell took over two years ago as head coach for thestruggling Colonel football team, he knew what needed to be done toget the program where it needed to be.

With the emphasis on the weight room, the Colonels began tobuild. This season, the effort paid off as Copiah made it all theway to the MPSA Class AA state football championship game.

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The Colonels fell 14-7 to 3-time defending state champ SimpsonCounty.

For his accomplishments, Mitchell has been named The DAILYLEADER Area Co-Coach of the Year. Mitchell shares the honors withHazlehurst head coach Willie Brown who won the MHSAA Class 3A statetitle.

“I am excited about it,” said Mitchell. “It meant you had a goodfootball team.”

Mitchell said he had the opportunity to watch Hazlehurst duringthe season and was impressed.” Hazlehurst had an exceptional team.Hazlehurst has a great program down there.”

Mitchell credited the off season program with turning the teamaround.

“We felt like our off season program was the difference,” saidMitchell. “We got the guys sold on it. After the first year, it waseasier to get them involved. They saw the payoff.”

Copiah finished the season with an 11-2 record and the District3-AA title.

“Coach Lance Teasley and Coach Scotty Kline did a great job,”praised Mitchell of his assistants. “Coach Kline coached thedefense. They spent a lot of time in the weight room. Those guysare a lot more important than me right now.”

Mitchell and his coaching staff received other honors.

‘I got to coach the South All-Stars,” added Mitchell. “Our staffwas coaching staff of the year.”

Mitchell also excels as basketball coach at Copiah. Twice, hehas been named The DAILY LEADER Area Coach of the Year. Mitchellwas named All-Area girls basketball coach in 2002 and boys coach1999.

Mitchell, the son of Mac and Karen Mitchell, is a native ofLawrence Country. He grew up in Jayess and graduated fromTopeka-Tilton High School in 1982 before consolidation.

Mitchell was an all-around athlete and participated in allsports at Topeka-Tilton.

“I played everything we had, football, basketball and baseball,”said Mitchell. “I was an average player. I played forward inbasketball. I was just one of the group.”

Mitchell attended Co-Lin for two years where he played footballunder James Sloan and baseball under Alton Greenlee.

Following graduation from Co-Lin in 1984, Mitchell went toMillsaps College where he played football and baseball. He earnedhis BS degree in physical education and later obtained a masters inadministration.

Mitchell serves as a high school principal and athletic directorat Copiah Academy. The headmaster is Carol S. Rigby

His first coaching job was at Simpson County Academy in 1987where he worked for eight years.

“The first year, all I did was football,” stated Mitchell. “Thenext year, by accident, the basketball coach left right before theseason started. I was, I guess, the man on the spot to fill in.I’ve been involved in basketball ever since. I’ve coached football,basketball and baseball at Simpson at different times.”

His best season came at Simpson the year before he moved toCopiah. “My next to last year at Simpson we played for the statechampionship in basketball. Record-wise we were like 18-16 but wegot beat in the finals of the state tournament.”

Mitchell and his wife, Diane, have two daughters, Alexis, age16, and Camryn,13.

Mitchell and his family are members of the Harmony BaptistChurch just outside of Crystal Springs.

“It was a great year for us,” added Mitchell. “Hopefully we cancome back after the holidays and get in the weight room and haveanother great year.”