TIMES TRIBUNE (CORBIN, Ky.)
By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
It’s been 15 years since David Mitchell stepped foot onto Corbin’s Campbell Field and the memory of that appearance isn’t a very pleasant one.
Mitchell, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Perry Central Commodores, was head coach of the Lynn Camp Wildcats when they suffered a 60-20 loss to the Corbin Redhounds in the 1998 Cumberland Falls Pigskin Classic.
That season was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Mitchell and the Wildcats, but that 40-point loss was the start of what turned out to be a memorable season for the Wildcats.
“We were coming off two regional final appearances and only had two starters coming back off our ’97 team,” Mitchell said. “It was supposed to be a rebuilding year and even though we got off to a rough start, it was the beginning of a pretty good year.”
Lynn Camp went on to lose its second game of the season (44-20 to Whitley County) before winning eight of the next nine, including an opening round win over Phelps in the Class A playoffs.
Mitchell led the Wildcats until his departure in the 2012 season, expecting to hang up his coaching shoes for once and for all.
Not long after he left Lynn Camp, opportunity knocked on Mitchell’s door.
Although it may have been a tough decision in ways, Mitchell said he’s glad he took the chance and said he’s more excited about coaching than he’s been in a long time.
“Life is full of changes, but sometimes those are good changes,” Mitchell said. “My wife and daughter cried the first time they saw me in this color red, but that’s just the way things worked out.
“I’m happy because it’s good to be some place where you’re wanted and respected,” he added. “I hadn’t gotten either of those over the past couple years in Knox County, which really made it tough.”
Friday night’s showing in the stands at Campbell Field proved that support for Mitchell still exists in the Tri-County.
When his team took the field against the Redhounds for Friday’s game, the old ball coach said the fact he still lives in the area coupled with the support of many longtime fans, it felt like a homecoming for him.
“It was good to see the people that always supported me as well as my family without them having to travel very far,” Mitchell said. “My home is still here (Tri-County), so there are people that really cared that showed up for the game.
“It really gives you a good feeling to know that people care about how well you do,” he added.
Despite his return, Mitchell said win lose or draw, it was never about him. Just as he said he tries to teach every player he’s ever coached, the team comes first and he said he will always try to pass that way of thinking on to his players.
“Every time you step on the football field, as a coach or as a player, you have an opportunity to prove yourself worthy,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t make a big deal about me coming back here because football is more important than that.
“We want our team to do well as a whole, not to single any one or any coach out,” he added. “If you stay together as a team then you’re always going to be successful in life, which is way more important than a football game.”