MEDFORD -- All good things must come to an end, and for North Medford head football coach Mike Mitchell, the end came later than most. After 50 years of coaching and teaching, the Black Tornado head man is calling it a career. He announced Thursday that he will retire.
Mitchell has spent the last six years coaching North Medford, but has coached 50 seasons overall in high school, college, and the pros in Europe. He estimates he's had the opportunity to coach around 5,000 athletes over the course of his career.
"The most enjoyment I get is watching a freshman come into the school and be a young boy," Mitchell said, "And to see him grow into a man in his four years. I think that's what most coaches enjoy."
Mitchell was the 2013 Southwest Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the Black Tornado to a 10-2 season, which ended in the state quarterfinals. His first job was coaching at Corvallis High School in 1969.
With many promising freshman and sophomores coming up for the Black Tornado, Mitchell felt it was time to step away after 50 years of coaching.
"It's a tough call, because it's almost a three-year commitment," Mitchell said, "This is my 50th year, so I just feel that this is a good natural time to retire."
Mitchell expects candidates from inside and outside North Medford to apply for the job he's leaving vacant.