Kyle’s Korner …
The local sports scene has lost Phillip Mitchell and it certainly leaves a void.
Phillip departed this life on Monday and it was a shock to everyone.
Phillip was a successful softball coach for several years at Burch High School, where he taught for most of his tenure as an educator.
The last few years, after retirement, he has served as a substitute at several schools, including Matewan.
Back in 2003, Mitchell was hired as head basketball coach at Matewan High School. I was his assistant that first year. When we talked about that season, he always said it was the most fun he had as a coach.
We didn’t win very many games, but the kids played hard and we had fun in practice. Eventually Phillip took the Tigers to the state tournament in 2009.
Everyone has a hilarious Philip Mitchell story. Maybe two or three of them.
I recall a couple from when he was a basketball official and I was coaching middle school basketball. He came over to the scorer’s table after whistling a foul and told me “watch this.” He proceeded to put his hand up in front of his face and said “facemask – No. 10” and looked over at me with a sly smile. That was the sense of humor he had.
Another time when I was coaching he came over to me before the game and said, “I’m not going to be blowing my whistle much tonight. I want to hurry and get this game over with. I have to get home in time to watch wrestling at 9:00 o’clock.”
He loved pro wrestling and if you spent any time around him you know he loved Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen. He was always holding up the four fingers – which was a sign used by Flair and others in wrestling a few years back.
The Four Horsemen were a popular crew in the NWA.
He even used a picture of himself, his two sons and Ric Flair as his profile picture on his Facebook page.
As a sports reporter, I think he did the same with several other writers. He would tell you right in the middle of a game – “I’m leaving as soon as the game is over, so let me give you a quote now. One if we win and one if we lose.”
Phillip was loved by his students, co-workers and community. He was always ready to help out a friend.
Phillip Mitchell also loved music and used to play in a local band. He had just recently done some recording with our mutual friend L. E. Simpkins and his oldest son Nathaniel. Like many of us older folks, he loved old time rock and roll.
Phillip was also a veteran having served in the United States Air Force.
These past few years Phillip was an active member of the Red Jacket Community Church having served in various roles at the house of worship.
He leaves behind his loving wife Jane Ann Mitchell of Red Jacket, and two sons Phillip Nathaniel and Nicholas Carrington Mitchell. Nathaniel is a junior at Marshall, while Nick is a senior at Mingo Central.
He will be missed by many, but his memories will last forever.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)