Fang Mitchell

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Fang Mitchell
Sport(s) Men's basketball
Biographical details
Born (1948-02-08) February 8, 1948 (age 69)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Thomas Edison State College
Coppin State University
Playing career
1969–1971 Gloucester County CC
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1978–1986 Gloucester County CC
1986–2014 Coppin State
Head coaching record
Overall 429–417 (NCAA D-I)
227–46 (junior college)
Tournaments 1–4 (NCAA D-I)
1–2 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
MEAC Tournament championship (1990, 1993, 1997, 2008)
MEAC regular season championship (1990, 1991, 1993–1996)
MEAC Coach of the Year (1990, 1991, 1993)

Ronald L. "Fang" Mitchell (born February 8, 1948) is an American college basketball coach and the former head men's basketball coach at Coppin State University.

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Camden, New Jersey, Mitchell graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden. Because he could not afford college, Mitchell worked factory and service jobs before attending Gloucester County College. Mitchell played on the Gloucester basketball team while also working the night shift as a computer operator at a bank.[1]

Mitchell then attended Rutgers University–Camden for a year, before embarking on a business career. He worked as a shoe company manager and printing sales representative. In Glassboro, New Jersey, Mitchell founded a clothing store, Mr. Fang's Athletic Attire, which expanded from one to three locations.[1][2]

Coaching career[edit]

Gloucester County CC[edit]

With no coaching experience, Mitchell became head coach at Gloucester County College in 1978. In his first season, he led the previously struggling Gloucester County Roadrunners to a stunning 19–11 record, then to consecutive seasons with 26 or more wins per year until the 1985–86 season. Gloucester County also made the NJCAA Tournament in 1980, 1981, 1985, and 1986.[1]

While Gloucester County head coach, Mitchell also assisted at Temple University basketball camps and became a good friend of Temple coach John Chaney. Additionally, Mitchell completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thomas Edison State College in 1984.[1]

Coppin State[edit]

In 1986, Coppin State University, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), hired Mitchell to be head coach for the Coppin State Eagles men's basketball team; Mitchell would hold this position for 28 seasons.[3] Mitchell earned his master's degree in adult and continuing education at Coppin State in 1994 while head coach.[1] In his 28 seasons as head coach, Mitchell was named MEAC Coach of the Year six times. He also led Coppin State to first place in the MEAC regular season standings ten times and four NCAA Tournament appearances.[1][3]

The Coppin State Eagles improved annually from 8–19 in Mitchell's first season to 26–7 in the 1989–90 season and a berth in the 1990 NCAA Tournament. The season also included an upset over Maryland.[1] After being projected to finish seventh in the conference in coaches' and sports information directors' preseason polls, Coppin State finished the season 22–8 and first in the MEAC and also made the 1993 NCAA Tournament.[1][3] In 1995, Mitchell turned down an offer to be head coach at FIU with a salary of $150,000, 90 percent higher than his current pay at Coppin State.[4]

Coppin State next made the NCAA Tournament in 1997 as a #15 seed and upset #2 South Carolina in the first round before losing to Texas in the second round 82–81.[5] Coppin State's last NCAA Tournament berth under Mitchell was in 2008.

On March 28, 2014, Coppin State opted not to renew Mitchell's contract, following three consecutive losing seasons and nine losing seasons in the last ten.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell married the former Yvonne Forston in 1990; they remained married until her death in 2002.[7]

Head coaching record[edit]

Junior college[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Gloucester County Roadrunners (Garden State Athletic Conference) (1978–1986)
1978–79 Gloucester County 19–11
1979–80 Gloucester County 31–4 NJCAA Tournament
1980–81 Gloucester County 32–5 NJCAA Tournament
1981–82 Gloucester County 26–7
1982–83 Gloucester County 28–5
1983–84 Gloucester County 29–5
1984–85 Gloucester County 30–4 NJCAA Tournament
1985–86 Gloucester County 32–5 NJCAA Tournament
Gloucester County: 227–46
Total: 227–46

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Coppin State Eagles (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1986–2014)
1986–87 Coppin State 8–19 7–6 4th
1987–88 Coppin State 13–14 8–7 5th
1988–89 Coppin State 18–11 11–5 3rd
1989–90 Coppin State 26–7 15–1 1st NCAA First Round
1990–91 Coppin State 19–11 14–2 1st NIT First Round
1991–92 Coppin State 15–13 9–7 T–4th
1992–93 Coppin State 22–8 16–0 1st NCAA First Round
1993–94 Coppin State 22–8 16–0 1st
1994–95 Coppin State 21–10 15–1 1st NIT Second Round
1995–96 Coppin State 19–10 14–2 T–1st
1996–97 Coppin State 22–9 15–3 1st NCAA Second Round
1997–98 Coppin State 21–8 17–1 1st
1998–99 Coppin State 15–14 14–4 T–1st
1999–00 Coppin State 15–15 13–5 T–2nd
2000–01 Coppin State 13–15 11–8 5th
2001–02 Coppin State 6–25 3–15 10th
2002–03 Coppin State 11–17 11–7 T–4th
2003–04 Coppin State 18–14 14–4 T–1st
2004–05 Coppin State 14–15 13–5 T–2nd
2005–06 Coppin State 12–18 12–6 2nd
2006–07 Coppin State 12–20 9–9 8th
2007–08 Coppin State 16–21 7–9 T–7th NCAA First Round
2008–09 Coppin State 13–19 9–7 T–3rd
2009–10 Coppin State 8–22 3–13 11th
2010–11 Coppin State 16–14 11–5 T–2nd
2011–12 Coppin State 14–16 9–7 6th
2012–13 Coppin State 8–24 5–11 T–9th
2013–14 Coppin State 12–20 7–9 7th
Coppin State: 429–417 308–159
Total: 429–417

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Ron "Fang" Mitchell". Coppin State University. 2012. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Jensen, Mike (August 5, 1989). "'Fang' Coach Taking Coppin State To The Big Time". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Bembry, Jerry (February 3, 1998). "Coach doesn't put price on loyalty". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Markus, Don (March 28, 2014). "Fang Mitchell out as Coppin State men's basketball coach". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved April 27, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Yvonne Fortson Mitchell, 56, college administrator...". Baltimore Sun. January 13, 2002. Retrieved April 27, 2015.