On Thursday night, the Sumter County Board of Education ended months of speculation by voting 8-1 to hire Reginald Mitchell as the new Americus-Sumter County High School athletic director and head football coach. For Mitchell, a long-time football player and coach, the opportunity to take over an Americus-Sumter football program rich in history was one he could not pass up.
“Americus-Sumter has a tradition-rich program and we are very excited,” Mitchell said in an interview with the Times-Recorder on Friday. “It is very humbling to be here and have this grand opportunity that we are very thankful for.”
In high school, Mitchell played for the Valdosta Wildcats where he won two state championships under coach Nick Hyder. Following an impressive high school career Mitchell attended Fort Valley State University where he played football for two seasons before suffering a career-ending injury. It was during his time at Fort Valley that Mitchell knew he wanted to be a coach. “I got injured and it cut my career short, but it was at that point that I realized that I really wanted to teach and coach, so I volunteered my time to learn how to coach,” he said.
Mitchell comes to Americus-Sumter from AAAAAA Tift County High School where he was the Blue Devils defensive coordinator for two seasons. Prior to his time at Tift County, Mitchell held the position of head coach at Albany High School for three seasons before leaving for the same title at GISA Sherwood Christian Academy, where he remained for two years as a head coach and finished with a 13-8 record.
Mitchell brings his wife, Melony, and two sons, Justin and Xavier Mitchell with him to Americus. In a family that is very well-versed in all things football, Justin, also known as ‘Coach’ for his knowledge of the game, is a sixth grader who plays quarterback. Xavier is a sophomore in high school who also plays football, and will be a valuable asset for his father and the Panthers at linebacker. Reginald and Melony also have an older son named Montavious.
Mitchell is a defensive-minded coach who plans to focus on building a solid defense aimed at terrorizing opposing offenses. During the summer of 2000, Mitchell served as a defensive intern with the recent Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. “Defense wins championships and you have to have the two Ds, discipline and defense,” Mitchell said. “I have always been a build from the defense first guy, so we will bring that mentality. We are going to base our program on being tough because it’s a tough game and a tough sport for tough people.”
Sumter County Schools Director of Human Resources Valerie Roberts said that she is thrilled that the Mitchells chose Americus as their new home for more than just the obvious football reasons. “I am delighted to have the Mitchells in Americus. I think that this family will be able to help support the school district’s goals of building young men that will be productive citizens,” she explained. “One of the things that is most impressive about Mr. Mitchell is that he is a man of good character. He cares about the children and he is a great example of a father and a family man and I think that this family will be a great addition to our community and a great support system for our young men,” she added.