Coach Mitchell makes history with 300 career wins

 Ben Olson/Sports Editor

If 43 years of coaching football at Cedar Falls isn’t enough of an accomplishment, then winning almost seven times that many games takes the straw for coach Pat Mitchell. Even after being named to the Iowa High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1989, 20 years later Mitchell is still making headway.

Friday, Oct. 2, marked Mitchell’s 300th career win as Cedar Falls head coach when his CF team took down Waterloo West 28-10. That makes Mitchell only the seventh Iowa high school football coach to accomplish such a feat.
According to Mitchell, though, more has gone into his outstanding career than just himself.

“Put together 43 years of players, assistant coaches, administration, student fans and city fans. It truly is a giant team effort that is a testimonial to the people of Cedar Falls,” Mitchell said.

According to assistant coach Jeremiah Longnecker, it’s obvious why Mitchell has coached over four decades.

“Coaching football is his favorite thing to do. He loves being around kids and watching them improve. I’m pretty sure that he wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he wasn’t coaching. He’d drive his wife, Jo, crazy at home if he didn’t have football in his life,” Longnecker said.

With this feat comes a great reflection period for the legendary coach.

“It is a great chance to think about all the players, assistant coaches, administrators, fans and opponents over a 43 year period. It has been a very, very fantastic journey. Some good, some bad, but always fascinating,” Mitchell said.

According to Longnecker, Mitchell’s wins symbolize excellence in coaching.

“It certainly means that he has been around a long time but has achieved a high level of success during his tenure here. He has something like four losing seasons in all his years as a head coach, and that is just amazing,” Longnecker said.

Mitchell definitely has a rich history of football in his life. He was an assistant coach in Bakersfield, Calif., for one year and an assistant coach in Kenosha, Wisc., one year before coming to Cedar Falls as an assistant coach for two years prior to being head coach for the past 43 years. Five years ago after retiring, Mitchell split up head coach duties between himself and business teacher Brad Remmert.
Part of Mitchell’s overall coaching strategy involves leaving lessons with his players.

“The lesson that resonates most with players is to never get too high after a win or too low after a loss. He is even-keeled and wants his teams to reflect that,” Longnecker said.

According to Mitchell, he is very adamant on teaching his players a good value system that applies to their lives as well as the game.
“Every player will first learn to be on time, and second, they will learn about a team. Their priorities should include their personal religious values, their families, academics and hopefully football,” Mitchell said. “They will experience victory and defeat with poise, sportsmanship and a resolve to improve. The most important things are your use of time and your health.”

During his lengthy coaching career at Cedar Falls, it is not hard for coach Mitchell to point out what has kept his energy up and kept him out of retirement from the game.

“This city is unbelievable in their love of their students, school, teachers and coaches – It is a model for other communities. The student athletes and their hunger to be part of the CF team has kept me coming back. I am truly day-to-day. I’ve learned to love and cherish each day here,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s overall career record at Cedar Falls currently stands 300-128-1.

Class of 2014

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