Flint native Reggie Mitchell begins his fifth season at Michigan State, his fourth year as running backs coach. Following the 2002 season, Mitchell took over the duties as recruiting coordinator for first-year head coach John L. Smith.
During his Michigan State tenure, Mitchell has tutored two NFL first-round draft picks, in wide receiver Plaxico Burress (Pittsburgh Steelers, 2000) and running back T.J. Duckett (Atlanta Falcons, 2002), plus recruited a third in Charles Rogers, the No. 2 selection overall by the Detroit Lions in the 2003 NFL Draft.
In 2001, Duckett rushed for 1,420 yards - the fifth-best single-season total in school history. Duckett, MSU's fifth all-time leading rusher with 3,379 career yards, became the first Spartan running back to be drafted in the first round (No. 18 overall) since Lorenzo White (Houston Oilers) in 1988.
In 1999, Mitchell coached the wide receivers, including Burress, who set then MSU single-season records for receptions (66), receiving yards (1,142) and touchdown catches (12).
The 42-year-old Mitchell came to Michigan State following two seasons as the running backs coach at Minnesota. He followed Glen Mason to Minnesota after a nine-year stint at Kansas, where he coached running backs for two years (1995-96), defensive ends for four seasons (1991-94) and defensive line for three years (1988-90). As running backs coach, Mitchell tutored June Henley, who ranks as the Jayhawks' all-time leading rusher with 3,841 career yards. He served on the Kansas coaching staff with former Spartan head coach Bobby Williams (1990).
From 1992-95, Kansas won 29 games -- the best four-year total in 85 seasons. In 1995, the Jayhawks went 10-2 and finished ninth in the final Associated Press Poll, following a 51-30 victory over UCLA in the Aloha Bowl. Kansas compiled an 8-4 overall record in 1992, including a 23-20 triumph over BYU in the Aloha Bowl, and stood No. 22 in the final AP Poll.
Mitchell first joined Coach Mason as wide receivers coach at Kent State in 1987. Prior to joining Mason, he coached the running backs at Western Michigan in 1986. He served as a graduate assistant coach under Bo Schembechler at Michigan in 1985. His first full-time coaching assignment came at Ferris State in 1984 where he worked with the wide receivers.
A four-year starter as a running back at Central Michigan (1978-81), Mitchell rushed for 2,394 career yards. He helped the Chippewas win back-to-back Mid-American Conference titles in 1979-80. Mitchell earned team MVP honors in 1981 after gaining 1,068 yards rushing. He received a bachelor's degree in parks and recreation from Central Michigan in 1984.
Mitchell broke into the college coaching ranks as a student coach at his alma mater in 1983.
An all-state running back at Flint (Mich.) Southwestern High School, Mitchell later returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 1982. Mitchell and his wife, Andrea, have two children, a son, Kaeman, and a daughter, Karena.
THE MITCHELL FILE
YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: Fifth. Joined staff on Feb. 16, 1999, from Minnesota.
PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College -- Student coach at Central Michigan (1983); wide receivers coach at Ferris State (1984); graduate assistant coach at Michigan (1985); running backs coach at Western Michigan (1986); wide receivers coach at Kent State (1987); defensive line, defensive ends, running backs coach at Kansas (1988-96); running backs coach at Minnesota (1997-98).
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in parks and recreation from Central Michigan in 1984.
PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College -- Four-year starter as a running back at Central Michigan (1978-81).
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach -- 1986 Fiesta Bowl, 1992 Aloha Bowl, 1995 Aloha Bowl, 2000 Florida Citrus Bowl, 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic.