HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The University of Alabama in Huntsville has announced the hiring of Jimmy Mitchell to be the program's next women's head soccer coach. The championship-winning coach comes to Huntsville with over 20 years of coaching experience.
"I'm excited to be here and excited to get started," said Mitchell. "Just coming to visit, I really fell in love with the city and the university. I think it's a great community. I think it's an excellent opportunity within Division II soccer where we can be competitive within the conference and eventually nationally."
Mitchell spent the previous 13 seasons at Division I member Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La., where he compiled a 131-112-20 record, and he boasts a 204-169-23 mark for his 20-year career which places him in the top 55 in Division I in career all-time victories.
The 131 wins in the Southland Conference is the best total by a head coach in league history.
"Jimmy Mitchell is a great soccer man and a winner" said UAH Director of Athletics Dr. E. J. Brophy. "He is a tireless worker, a great recruiter and a mentor to young people. We are honored to have him join the Charger Family."
Just two seasons into his tenure at NSU, Mitchell guided his team to the program's first-ever conference championship and berth in the NCAA tournament, and he followed that up with another appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2002. Mitchell then made his team the first school from Louisiana to play in the national tournament three times when his group once again captured the Southland Conference championship in 2005.
Mentoring 26 All-Southland Conference First Team selections and 25 who earned second team honors, Mitchell coached four conference players of the year and a freshman of the year, and he earned coach of the year recognition in 2000 and 2002.
Under his tutelage, the Lady Demons also excelled in the classroom as he boasted 17 SLC All-Academic selections, and his teams constantly featured a strong NCAA Academic Progress Rate.
"Through my coaching career I've been fortunate to graduate players, and the high academic standards here go hand-in-hand with my coaching philosophy," Mitchell stated. "It's important to have student-athletes with the student coming first."
Prior to his time at NSU, Mitchell served as the head women's soccer coach at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C., for four seasons from 1995-99 where he was twice named the Carolinas Virginia Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. During his final season there, he guided the squad to the CVAC regular season and tournament titles and to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals where his team lost to the eventual national champion. The squad finished the season ranked No. 10 nationally.
From 1997-99, Mitchell served on the NCAA Division II Tournament Selection Committee as a representative from the Southeast Region, and he also acted as the women's soccer chairperson for the CVAC.
Mitchell began his coaching career in 1991 as he spent three seasons in charge of the program at Gardner Webb, and in 1994 he served as an assistant coach to Robbie Church – current head coach at Duke – at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
A 1990 graduate of Gardner Webb, Mitchell is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and the United States Soccer Federation, and he has been active in the Olympic Development Program.