The Bridgeport Knights got lucky as they now have a former athlete as their new head coach for two sports. The University of Bridgeport officially announced Janie Mitchell would be joining the department of athletics as their new women’s basketball AND cross country head coach. The former Georgia Tech standout lead her basketball team in scoring and rebounding during her senior year, in addition to dominating the 400 meter dash and hurdles event.
” I knew for sure that I wanted to be a head coach during my junior year of college. I was the captain of the team, and at the time I had a minor injury. So I started coaching my teammates from the bench. I have always known that I wanted to coach.”
Like every job you have to work your way to the top. Janie volunteered her coaching services locally which eventually lead to assistant coaching positions at Georgia Tech (her alma mater), Southern Polytechnic State University, and most recently Stony Brook. Prior to her tenure at Stony Brook, Janie served as a recruiting coordinator at Kennesaw State University. It’s been a memorable journey, but it hasn’t always been an easy one.
“As an assistant coach, you have to learn how to be a really good follower and listener. You have to know and accept the fact that you aren’t going to be the one that makes the final decisions. You have to be a good assistant, and believe in your boss. You also have to have good communication skills, or it won’t work. As far as recruiting goes, I have certainly made some mistakes because ultimately you just want the best players. Some players have had issues with their attitudes or behavior, and you overlook it because of how talented they are. However not every coach is able to handle negative behavior, and you don’t want a team full of distractions. It brings on more challenges.”
Now Janie has her dream job, and can’t wait to embark on the next chapter of her career. Pulling from her experiences as a player and assistant coach she knows exactly what type of coach she wants to be.
” I think it’s important to understand that there are different types of coaches. I want to be a relationship based coach because that is very important. I am going to be tough, and I am going to demand excellence from my team, but I want to build strong relationships with them. I want them to know that I care about them on a personal level, and that I will always be there for them when they need me. I can’t wait for this next chapter! I always say I like to bloom right where I am planted, and I believe that if I continue to be the best that I can be, then everything will fall into place.