Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

January 15, 2013

Texas native hired to coach WVU corners

HUNTINGTON — Brian Mitchell has been hired as cornerbacks coach at West Virginia, coach Dana Holgorsen announced Tuesday.

Mitchell replaces Daron Roberts, who was fired after two seasons. West Virginia was among three defenses in the Bowl Subdivision to allow more than 4,000 passing yards in the 2012 season.

Mitchell spent the past three seasons as East Carolina’s defensive coordinator before being fired earlier this month. He also had assistant coaching stints at Texas Tech and Brigham Young, where he played from 1987-90.

“Brian is an excellent addition to the West Virginia football staff and has a wealth of experience as a cornerbacks coach,” Holgorsen said on the WVU athletics website. “He brings a lot of energy, is an aggressive recruiter, and I have seen him develop young players into great players.

“He is an outstanding coach and even better person, and I look forward to him joining our program.”

Mitchell said on the website, “It’s an honor to be associated with a program that has a great winning tradition such as West Virginia. I believe the fans are second to none; the state is second to none. It is a privilege to earn the right to go through this process to be a part of this family.”

A native of Waco, Texas, Mitchell played at BYU from 1987-90 and holds the school record for the longest interception return, a 97-yard effort against New Mexico in 1989.

He was a seventh-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1991 and spent three seasons in the NFL, splitting time with Atlanta and the Dallas Cowboys.

Mitchell said on the website, “It’s a natural fit for me, coaching cornerbacks, because I played the position at all three levels, in high school, college and in the NFL.”

“Knowledge is key to all things. I’ve been able to acquire that knowledge over the years and have had success of consistently putting a good product on the field.”

In 2011, Mitchell helped implement a 3-4 defensive scheme for the Pirates, an alignment that produced immediate results and earned ECU a reputation as one of most improved units nationally.

The turnaround enabled the Pirates to move up 64 places on the FBS total defense rankings, allowing 102.5 fewer yards per game, and jump 22 spots in scoring defense.

*****

During his coaching tenure, he has been on coaching staffs that have won five conference titles and made 11 bowl appearances. He has coached nine defensive backs who have advanced to the NFL.

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