Dunbar players meet the coach Mitchell introduced to football team

August 15, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

For Dunbar principal Charlotte Brown, addressing a group of football players early on a Saturday morning is a little out of the norm -- fitting right in with the past few days for the team.

Brown attended the first day of practice to introduce the playerto their new coach, Stan Mitchell. A high school coach for less than 24 hours -- he was hired late Friday morning -- Mitchell was in the Dunbar gymnasium selling himself to the 30 or so players turning out for the first day.

"I'm really enthusiastic," said Mitchell, sporting a Dunbar hat anDunbar Football T-shirt. "Right now, I'm just trying to get everybody into camp so we can get going."

Mitchell has been hired as an interim coach to replace PetPompey, who is on administrative leave with pay while an investigation is conducted concerning an allegation of misuse of athletic department funds.

Brown introduced Mitchell to the players during a closed-door meeting at the Dunbar gym.

"What I normally do is talk to the players and their parents prioto the first game," Brown said. "But we're dealing with some unique circumstances."

Mitchell had a series of pluses on his side when Brown made thdecision to make him what she called an "emergency hire."

"Stan has coached some of these young men when they were imiddle school, so he's familiar with a lot of them," Brown said. "One thing that really stuck was his stressing of academics. We want these young men to be students first and athletes second."

Mitchell got his chance to stress academics to the playerbefore leading them to the football field for a light practice.

"If you are prepared in the classroom, you can be on my team,Mitchell said. "We'll have no attitudes and no personalities. There will be be just one attitude and one personality here -- me."

That said, the players had a brief practice where the coachestressed proper stretching and conditioning. With all the news that has been happening off the field, the players were finally where they wanted to be -- on it.

"I've been looking forward to playing football all summer," saiDante Jones, a junior quarterback and outside linebacker. "There's been a lot of distractions. I'm just ready to go."

Jones is one of many Dunbar players who have played foMitchell when he coached the Northwood Rams, a Pop Warner team for 11- to 13-year-olds.

"He's a good coach, a very good coach," Jones said. "He pushehis players and makes them go out there and play at their best."

Brown stressed that Mitchell is an interim coach, and said thashe doesn't know when a new athletic director and basketball coach would be hired.

"This is what is called an emergency hire, and I do have thoption of bringing someone else in," Brown said. "This has been an awful situation. Nobody can say what's going to happen, but we're going to have a football team, and we're going to have a quality football team."

It will be up to Mitchell to uphold those standards, and he'looking forward to the challenge.

"We have a lot to do in a little bit of time," Mitchell said. "But

have a good staff, and I think we'll do well."

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