Reggie Mitchell has completed his fourth season as assistant head coach, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator on the University of Illinois staff. Mitchell has over 25 years of collegiate coaching experience.
Last season, the running game operated behind the a dualrunning back system featuring junior Daniel Dufrene and freshman Jason Ford. Dufrene ranked seventh in the Big Ten in rushing and averaged 5.7 yards a carry. Ford led the team in touchdowns scored with eight.
In 2007, Mitchell led the Illini running back corps to its second-straight Big Ten rushing title, topping its league-best total from a year ago by nearly 1,000 yards.
Mitchell guided Rashard Mendenhall to the finest rushing season in school history, smashing school records for most rushing yards (1,681), rushing touchdowns (17) and total touchdowns (19) in a season, and being named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. As a team, the Illini rushed for 3,338 yards and averaged 256.8 rushing yards per game, the highest total and second-best average in school history. The team not only led the conference in rushing but also ranked fifth in the nation.
In 2006, Mitchell tutored the running back group to 188.8 yards per game, best in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation. Three-year starter Pierre Thomas twice earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors under Mitchell's tutelage. The Illini had two running backs ranked in the Big Ten's top-10 for the season. Thomas ranked seventh with 62.9 yards per contest, while Mendenhall was 10th with 53.3 ypg. Additionally, Mendenhall averaged 8.2 yards per carry, highest in the league.
Mitchell's other hat worn on the coaching staff is that of recruiting coordinator. In just three seasons of full recruiting at Illinois, Mitchell has led the staff in building three Top-30 classes, including a Top-15 group in 2007. For his efforts, he has earned accolades as not only one of the best recruiters in the conference, but nationally as well. In 2006, he was named among the top-20 best recruiters nationally and was top-5 in the Big Ten as rated by Rivals.com in 2007.
A Midwesterner hailing from Flint, Mich., Mitchell came to Illinois after six seasons at Michigan State and two years at Minnesota.
Much of Mitchell's experience has come on the offensive side of the ball, primarily as a running backs and wide receivers coach. In his six years at MSU, he tutored two NFL first-round draft picks in running back T.J. Duckett and receiver Plaxico Burress.
Also a first-rounder, receiver Charles Rogers, the 2003 No. 2 pick, was a prized recruit for Mitchell. In 2001, Duckett rushed for 1,420 yards, totaling 3,379 in his career, while Burress set the MSU single-season receiving record in 1999 with 66 catches, 1,142 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Mitchell went to MSU following 12 seasons with head coach Glen Mason at Minnesota, Kansas and Kent State. During his time with the Jayhawks, Kansas won 29 games during a fouryear stretch, the best total in 85 seasons. The 1995 team went 10-2 and finished ninth in the final AP poll after a 51-30 win over UCLA in the Aloha Bowl. During that time,
Mitchell tutored KU's all-time leading rusher, June Henley.
A four-year starter as a running back at Central Michigan (1978-81), Mitchell rushed for 2,394 career yards and helped the Chippewas win back-to-back Mid-American Conference titles in 1979 and 1980. During his time in the starting lineup at CMU, the team posted a record of 35-6-1. He earned MVP honors in 1981 after gaining 1,068 yards. He received his bachelor's degree from CMU in parks and recreation in 1984. Mitchell was an all-state running back at Flint's Southwestern High School.
Mitchell has three children; a son, Kaeman, and two daughters, Karena and Jennifer.