Mitchell passes on FIU, to stay at Coppin

March 19, 1995|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Fang Mitchell, who has guided Coppin State's basketball team to a 164-100 record and two NCAA tournament appearances over nine seasons, has withdrawn from consideration for the coaching job at Florida International University.

As of last week, Mitchell was one of three finalists to succeed Bob Weltlich, who announced his retirement two months ago and officially stepped down after the Golden Panthers lost to UCLA on Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament's West Regional.

Mitchell decided to withdraw after meeting last week with Coppin State president Dr. Calvin Burnett.

"After talking with Dr. Burnett and going over things, I thought it was best to stay at Coppin right now. I truly love the man and the people at Coppin," Mitchell said. "I've always said it would take an awful lot to get me out of here."

A source at FIU said the school offered Mitchell $100,000 a year to start as the Golden Panthers' coach. Mitchell, who before this month had never pursued another job since taking his first Division I position at Coppin State in 1986, draws a $91,200 salary coaching the Eagles.

"It [FIU] was a decent offer. I'll still listen to other offers, but I'm not actually looking for a job. I want to finish this job," said Mitchell, who coached the Eagles to their first Division I postseason victory -- outside of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament -- over St. Joseph's on Wednesday in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

Coppin State, 21-9 this season, visits South Florida tomorrow night in the second round.

"Dr. Burnett has been good and loyal to me," said Mitchell, whose team lost just one regular-season MEAC game the past two seasons but didn't get into the NCAA tournament because the Eagles were upset in the conference tournament each year.

"I have the right situation right now. Money isn't everything."

NIT SCORES, SCHEDULE

FIRST ROUND

Friday's results

Virginia Tech 62, Clemson 54

Texas-El Paso 90, Montana 60

SECOND ROUND

Tomorrow's games

Coppin St. (21-9) at S. Florida (17-11), 7:30 p.m.

Canisius (19-12) at Bradley (20-9), 8:05 p.m.

St. B'venture (18-12) at Marquette (18-11), 9 p.m.

Wash. State (17-11) at Illinois St. (20-12), TBA

Virginia Tech (21-10) at Providence (17-12), TBA

New Mexico State (24-9) vs. UTEP , TBA

Tuesday's games

Penn State (18-10) at Nebraska (18-13), 7:30 p.m.

Ohio University (24-9) at Iowa (20-11), 9 p.m.

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