Stanley Mitchell had no delusions of grandeur yesterday after signing a one-year contract as interim football coach at Morgan State.
"My back is against the wall," said Mitchell, who takes over a program that has not had a winning season in 19 years and will not have a home field next season. "I know I have to get the job done right away, and it won't be easy."
Mitchell, 51, said he will start rebuilding the Bears by installing a disciplinary system of "zero tolerance" and going all-out in recruiting in the entire Baltimore metro area.
"You have to be a disciplinarian, and I believe 50 to 70 percent of your players should come from your home state," said Mitchell, who last season was outside linebackers coach and assistant director of residence life at Morgan.
Mitchell, who guided Dunbar High to state football championships in 1994 and 1995 and had a 51-12 record in five seasons with the Poets, replaces Stump Mitchell, who resigned in early February to become running backs coach for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
The Bears fell to 1-10 last season from 4-7 and 3-7 in Stump Mitchell's first two years.
Stanley Mitchell said he will soon name a recruiting coordinator to handle a system that should enable Morgan to make contact with all the top prospects in the area.
"A lot of good talent leaves this area," he said. "We're going into all the schools and get a card on all kids who are possible prospects when they're in the ninth grade, and we'll follow their progress. By the time they reach the 11th and 12th grades, we'll have them narrowed down to the top prospects."
Certainly, other Morgan coaches have tried the same system, but Stanley Mitchell could make it work because he was born and raised in Baltimore and has strong ties to virtually every area of amateur football in the city.
Stanley Mitchell graduated from Dunbar and Morgan and was a defensive back and linebacker at both schools.
He went on to play semipro football in the Baltimore area for five years and began his coaching career with the Northwood Pop Warner 11-13 team, which he guided to the national title in 1991 after the team finished as runner-up in 1990.
Even though it was just his first day on the job yesterday, Mitchell said he has already made a decision, naming senior Willie McGirt his No. 1 quarterback and abandoning the two-quarterback system used the past two seasons.
"Willie McGirt is the perfect quarterback for the modern era of football," said Mitchell. "He's very athletic and mobile."
McGirt, a Patterson High product who chose Virginia Tech before transferring to Morgan, struggled at times in his sophomore and junior years at Morgan while alternating with Donald Green, who was a senior last year.
Pub Date: 3/31/99