North Texas Daily

Jalie Mitchell introduced as women’s basketball coach

Jalie Mitchell introduced as women’s basketball coach

April 09
17:47 2015

Alex Lessard / Staff Writer

Thirteen years ago, Jalie Mitchell graduated from North Texas as the all-time leading scorer in Mean Green women’s basketball history. Today, Mitchell was officially introduced as the new head coach of her alma mater.

Mitchell and athletic director Rick Villarreal held a press conference to announce the hiring at 2 p.m. today at Apogee Stadium. Mitchell has spent the past three seasons as an assistant at the University of Texas under former Mean Green head coach Karen Aston.

mitchell_wball

Jalie Mitchell

After playing at North Texas from 1998-2002 and two separate stints as an assistant coach with the Mean Green, Mitchell said the feeling of coming back home is indescribable.

“I didn’t think it would happen this soon, but the fact that it did warms my heart and makes me happy,” Mitchell said.

North Texas mutually parted ways with former head coach Mike Petersen in March after posting a 5-24 record and failing to qualify for the Conference USA tournament. With the hiring of Mitchell, the Mean Green look to break a streak of nine consecutive losing seasons.

Mitchell was part of the past two NCAA Tournaments with the Longhorns. She began her coaching career as an assistant with North Texas in 2008 before following head coach Shanice Stephens to the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, helping lead the team to a program-best 24-9 record in the 2010-11 season. Mitchell said the knowledge she gained from previous coaches will make the transition to head coach an easy one.

“They’ve prepared me. I’ve been a part of their rebuilding efforts,” Mitchell said. “I know what it looks like, I know what it feels like, I know what it takes, and that’s why I’m here.”

In her career as a player at North Texas, Mitchell was a four-time all-conference selection and was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year as a senior. North Texas put together a 77-39 record in Mitchell’s career, including a 42-4 home record and two WNIT appearances.

Villarreal said Mitchell’s experience as a player for the Mean Green combined with her time coaching at other programs made her the best fit for the job.

“She is a mature, unbelievably talented young coach and a rising star in the profession,” Villarreal said.

Some current North Texas players were originally recruited by Mitchell during the 2011-12 season and will now be reunited with a familiar face. Mitchell was the recruiting coordinator at Texas, and Villarreal said her recruiting skills will have an immediate impact on a program in rebuilding mode.

“When you want to bring in talent, you better have somebody that knows how to do it,” Villareal said. “Bar none, I will put [Mitchell] up against anybody in the country, especially in the Dallas market.”

Mitchell’s pervious experiences at North Texas will bring a unique comfort level to the table for the first-time head coach. Sophomore forward Eboniey Jeter, who was recruited by Mitchell before her freshman season, said it will be hard not to listen to somewhere that has been in their shoes before.

“Not only has she been in our position, she’s been here at this school,” Jeter said. “She knows the culture and she knows what we’ve gone through in past seasons.”

In her first public appearance in front of the players, Mitchell asked them to remember why they came to North Texas in an inspiring message.

“You chose to come and make a difference,” Mitchell said. “I know you haven’t done what you wanted to do, but there’s still a chance. You’re still here, the time is still present, and you guys have what it takes.”

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