Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

  1. #1
    Administrator Array title="fansince'76 has a reputation beyond repute"> fansince'76's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Gender
    Posts
    23,805

    The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    For some, life is based on the outputs. The people you meet, the things you do, the way people perceive you. For John Mitchell, the output is irrelevant. It's only about the inputs in life.

    Dick LeBeau, without a doubt, has been an underappreciated player and coach who is finally getting his recognition. Mitchell is very similar, minus the recognition.

    Mitchell was recruited by the legendary Bear Bryant to play for him at Alabama. He accepted the offer and became the first black person to ever play football for the Crimson Tide. He didn't have a successful career as a player, but continued to break racial barriers at Alabama by becoming the first black full-time assistant coach at Alabama. Again, it was the Bryant who got him the job.

    After leaving Alabama, Mitchell went on to coach under another legendary coach, Lou Holtz, at Arkansas.

    He then bounced around a couple of different coaching gigs, including working under current offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, before accepting a job with the Cleveland Browns in 1991. Although not an elite coach yet, Mitchell was hired by Bill Belichick, now one of the top coaches in the NFL.

    He found his current home in 1994 when the Steelers and Bill Cowher hired him to be the defensive line coach. Of the current staff, Mitchell has the longest tenure. He's worked hard, albeit quietly, to turn Casey Hampton from just a first round talent to a multiple Pro Bowler. He's taken second day picks and turned them into starters. Aaron Smith, widely considered to be the most underrated player on the defense, was originally just a 4th round pick. Current starter Brett Kiesel was a 7th round flier. Chris Hoke was an undrafted free agent who proved to be a valuable backup. Going farther back in time, Joel Steed was a 3rd round pick whose ability at the zero technique helped the team reach the Super Bowl in 1995.

    Mitchell's hard work and dedication was rewarded when he was named the team's assistant head coach in 2007. His role may not have greatly increased, but it shows the gratitude and respect the team has for him.

    Everywhere you go, his peers laud Mitchell.

    "John Mitchell is without a doubt one of the brightest young assistant coaches in the nation. He should become a tremendous head coach one day. I even fear for my job after people realize his contribution to us winning this year." - Lou Holtz

    "Every player coach Mitchell gets improves dramatically; They might not improve dramatically enough to make the football team all the time, but every single player gets better with coach Mitchell. I've always had great confidence in him." - Dick LeBeau

    "John takes a great deal of pride in what he does, the performance of his men, the development of his men,” Tomlin said. “I wanted him to have that same kind of ownership over this football team, and the growth and development of young players.” - Mike Tomlin

    If you didn't know any better, you'd have thought these comments were about Dick LeBeau. They're not. They're all pointed towards Mitchell.

    Does all of this praise go to Mitchell's head? See for yourself.

    "I have great people. Chris Hoke is one of the finest people I've ever met, same with Brett Keisel, Aaron Smith, Travis Kirschke, Casey Hampton. They're people who want to get better. I don't have to do much. I can coach them hard. They don't take anything I say personally because all they want is to be better football players."

    Mitchell's impact goes beyond the playing field. Deshea Townsend says that Mitchell "treats us like sons" and that he "[tries] to make us better people". As pointed out in a recent article by Gene Collier, Mitchell has been helping the Every Child Foundation, an organization that helps underprivileged families, for twelve years. He's been a part of the board of directors for nine.

    Mitchell also had a close relationship to eleven year old Heather Miller who lost her battle with cancer in late January. The two often talked and Mitchell even let her conduct a drill during her visit with the team last year.

    As the cliché goes, all good things must come to an end. In early 2009, Mitchell was quoted saying that he'd leave once this current group of lineman left. If that comment holds true, he won't be a coach for much longer. It is time for Mitchell to get the praise, the attention, and the respect he deserves.

    The outputs in Mitchell's life, the two Super Bowl rings and working with all-time great coaches, is a rare thing for a person to accomplish.

    But the inputs he's given to the world are irreplaceable.

    © 2010 Steelers Universe

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Array title="stillers4me has a reputation beyond repute"> stillers4me's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Shitzinnati
    Gender
    Posts
    24,477

    Re: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    Very nice, chidi! It seems Mitchell does get overlooked. He was truly touched by knowing Heather Miller, that much was evident in the video I saw several months ago.

    The Steelers have been fortunate to have John Mitchell as a part of their coaching staff.



  3. #3
    Senior Member Array title="Akagi is an unknown quantity at this point">

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Gender
    Posts
    254

    Re: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    Nice article.

    Can anyone name the year Bear Bryant integrated 'Bama, without looking it up? I say this not as a stab at Bryant (he'd been pushing for it for years) nor at 'Bama (it stands for what it is and needs no discussion), but as an example of what Mitchell did. It was probably harder for him to do it then than it would have been to do it earlier.

  4. #4
    Spaghetti Time Array title="Chidi29 has a reputation beyond repute"> Chidi29's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Gender
    Posts
    7,490

    Re: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    Quote Originally Posted by Akagi View Post
    Nice article.

    Can anyone name the year Bear Bryant integrated 'Bama, without looking it up? I say this not as a stab at Bryant (he'd been pushing for it for years) nor at 'Bama (it stands for what it is and needs no discussion), but as an example of what Mitchell did. It was probably harder for him to do it then than it would have been to do it earlier.
    I'm sure I came across it when looking up information for the article, but I don't remember the exact year. Had to be late-60s, early-70s because I'm pretty sure he's in his mid-60s right now. Obviously, breaking racial barriers was much more difficult in the south and only magnifies the importance of what Mitchell did.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array title="Akagi is an unknown quantity at this point">

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Gender
    Posts
    254

    Re: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chidi29 View Post
    I'm sure I came across it when looking up information for the article, but I don't remember the exact year. Had to be late-60s, early-70s because I'm pretty sure he's in his mid-60s right now. Obviously, breaking racial barriers was much more difficult in the south and only magnifies the importance of what Mitchell did.
    Yep; 1970. That's what I meant by the question. I really enjoyed the read, it was all stuff I didn't know about a guy I don't think about often. I love it when I'm taught new stuff; thanks!

  6. #6
    Spaghetti Time Array title="Chidi29 has a reputation beyond repute"> Chidi29's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Pittsburgh
    Gender
    Posts
    7,490

    Re: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    No problem. Glad you liked it.

  7. #7
    BRINGIN' IT! Array title="Indo is on a distinguished road"> Indo's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Still Nowhere, AL
    Gender
    Posts
    370

    Re: The Road Taken: Illustrious yet Unrecognized (by Chidi29 - August 14, 2010)

    Excellent Editorial Alex
    Keep writing them...
    "Chuck Noll is building one hell of a football team up in Pittsburgh. I look for the Steelers to be the team of the future. Just remember I said that."
    - - - Immortal Packers coach Vince Lombardi in 1970, two years before the Steelers even made the playoffs under Noll

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •