Mitchell to head basketball operations at Pike Liberal Arts School

Published 12:54 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

By Staff Reports

Teacher and coach Jonny Mitchell recently announced he will be leaving Highland Home School to take on a new role at Pike Liberal Arts School in Troy. Mitchell, who has been coaching and teaching for almost 30 years, will head basketball operations at Pike Liberal Arts.

Mitchell has been part of five final four games, seven regional finals, and has recorded an impressive 420 Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) victories. Mitchell began teaching and coaching at Highland Home School (HHS) in 2004 and worked at the school until 2007. His second stint at HHS began in 2017 and during his time there, Mitchell has strived to positively impact the school’s basketball program.

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Under his leadership, Flying Squadron teams have consistently ranked among the top teams in the state and Mitchell, with 160 total wins, is the winningest boy’s coach in the history of the school.

Mitchell said his decision to leave HHS was not an easy one, but he felt it was time for a new challenge. He said he believes he can make a difference at Pike Liberal, and is excited to work with the school’s athletes and help them reach their full potential.

“I have had a great time at Highland Home and it will always be a special place to me,” Mitchell said. “I have been blessed to be surrounded by great people and great young men and women. I hope we can build and sustain a great program at Pike Lib . I am excited to have this opportunity and can’t wait to get started.”

Mitchell’s move to Pike Liberal is not only a big move for him personally, but it also highlights the importance of quality coaching and teaching in the development of young athletes. Mitchell, who is known to many as Coach Mitch, has dedicated his life to teaching and coaching, and according to former Brantley School player Dexter Daniels, his impact on the lives of his students and athletes cannot be overstated.

“Coach Mitch came to Brantley my senior year,” Daniels said. “Coach Mitch and I instantly clicked. He was very down to earth and relatable as a coach. He was a player’s coach and genuinely cared about his players as people first and foremost. I graduated high school at Brantley and earned a full ride to play football at Vanderbilt University. Coach Mitch was the only high school coach I had that came and watched me play [in college]. He deserves all the great things that will come his way and I’m proud to be a product of his dedication to teaching and coaching.”

A current HHS senior and former player of Mitchell’s, Quintasia June, echoed the sentiments of Daniels.

“I love Coach Mitchell as a person,” June said. “He is a good man and he taught me everything I know about the sport of basketball. He pushed me to give it my all on the court and in the classroom and even though he didn’t coach me this year, I still used his methods on the court. Coach Mitch builds great relationships with his students and athletes and he never misses a day of practice. It’s very obvious how committed he is to coaching and teaching.”

Pike Liberal athletic director, Phillip Coggins, said he believes Mitchell will be a great asset to the school’s basketball program.

“I first met Coach Mitchell when I was able to hire him at Highland Home,” Coggins said. “Seeing how hard he worked and the relationship he built with the players there was special. His ability to impact students athletes both on and off the court is what made the hire easy for us at Pike Lib. Coach Mitchell is respected for his coaching ability and that is important to us but having a guy that works tirelessly for his players is what sets Coach Mitchell apart. We are excited to bring him on board as our director of basketball operations. Our program and boosters are committed to being successful members of the AHSAA in all sports and we believe that Coach Mitchell is the guy to lead our basketball program to that success.”