West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen announced the hiring of cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell on Tuesday, lauding his new assistant as a hard-working recruiter with a history of player development.
MetroNews first reported Mitchell’s hiring last week, but it wasn’t made official until the university’s human resources department could complete background checks. Two other hirings — secondary coach Tony Gibson and receivers coach Lonnie Galloway — are expected to be finalized soon. All three new staff members have been awaiting approval to jump into the recruiting frenzy, with National Signing Day only three weeks away.
Mitchell, 44, spent the past three seasons as defensive coordinator at East Carolina but was dismissed Jan. 3 on the heels of an 8-5 season that included a 43-34 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl.
“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.” — Brian Mitchell
Mitchell played cornerback at Brigham Young from 1987-90 and, after three NFL seasons with the Falcons and Cowboys, he spent 11 years as an assistant with BYU. He later coached with Holgorsen at Texas Tech for four seasons.
“Brian is an excellent addition to the West Virginia football staff and has a wealth of experience as a cornerbacks coach,” Holgorsen said. “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, who helped implement a 3-4 scheme at ECU two seasons ago, has coached 11 bowl teams, five conference championship teams and nine defensive backs who advanced to the NFL.
“It’s an honor to be associated with a program that has a great winning tradition such as West Virginia,” Mitchell said. “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.
“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. I was fortunate enough to play in the NFL with some very dominant football players such as Deion Sanders. I was able to learn, absorb, see, hear and put together and formulate a plan to help young men be very successful at the NCAA Division I level at the cornerback position. 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.”