LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Following a national search, Bellarmine University announced Wednesday that Jim Mitchell will become the next head coach of the Bellarmine lacrosse team.
“Jim’s incredible passion, energy and enthusiasm for Bellarmine are clearly evident and make him an outstanding choice as the next Knights head coach,” said Bellarmine Director of Athletics Scott Wiegandt. “He is knowledgeable about the Bellarmine program and respectful of the program’s history and is confident he can take it to the next level.”
Mitchell, most recently the offensive coordinator at Rutgers University and a former Duke assistant, is no stranger to the Bellarmine lacrosse program, having served on the Knights’ coaching staff during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
“I am both honored and deeply grateful for the opportunity to represent Bellarmine University as the head men’s lacrosse coach,” Mitchell said. “I would like to thank Dr. Susan Donovan, Scott Wiegandt and the entire search committee for this chance to be a part of something truly special. I would also like to thank my family, Rutgers head coach Brian Brecht and countless others for their unwavering support throughout my career.”
“Over the years I have been fortunate to learn from mentors who value the relationships with student-athletes and the campus community above all else,” Mitchell said. “Bellarmine University as a whole epitomizes this philosophy and the future of the lacrosse program will be built on a foundation of honesty, integrity and perseverance.”
The past four seasons, Mitchell served on the staff at Rutgers University, coordinating the offense for the last three years. During that span, Mitchell led the Scarlet Knights to a national top 25 ranking for scoring offense each year and mentored seven Big 10 performers.
While Mitchell was at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights achieved a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in school history and finished the 2017 and 2018 seasons ranked 11th in the final USILA coaches poll.
Just prior to serving at Rutgers, Mitchell spent two years as Bellarmine’s defensive coordinator, and the Knights ranked in the top 15 of the nation in goals against average. At Bellarmine, Mitchell coached both Dillon Ward and Bobby Schmitt, the Knights’ only two All-Americans in program history. Bellarmine also earned a USILA top 20 ranking in 2013.
“I look forward to honoring our accomplished alumni and to collaborating with them to help educate the current team on the unique and exciting history of the program,” Mitchell said. “When it comes time to compete on game day, our student-athletes will play with the passion and pride of those who first blazed the trail for lacrosse at Bellarmine University.”
Mitchell said his previous experience at Bellarmine make returning to Louisville something of a homecoming. “Having spent time at Bellarmine in the past, Louisville already feels like home to me and my family,” he said. “I cannot wait to meet the young men who will help lead the bright future of Knights lacrosse in the community and the classroom while also competing for Southern Conference championships!”
Mitchell is a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he was a midfielder and captain of the lacrosse team. He began his coaching career in the 2006-07 academic year as an assistant at Goucher College, serving for two years as defensive coordinator before earning his master’s degree from the Baltimore school.
He then moved on to Roanoke College for two seasons as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator. While Mitchell was at Roanoke, the Maroons compiled a two-year record of 35-5, won a regular-season conference title, spent several weeks as the No. 1 team in the nation in the USILA Div. III poll, and made two NCAA tournament appearances.
In 2011, he joined Duke University as an assistant coach with an emphasis on goalies and defense. In his one season at Duke, the Blue Devils reached the NCAA semifinals and produced six All-Americans.
Mitchell officially begins his Bellarmine duties on July 2.