Former Kansas Football Coach Jack Mitchell Dies

July 6, 2009

Jack Mitchell, who coached the Kansas football team from 1958-66, has died in Sun City, Ariz. He was 85.

Mitchell was 44-42-5 in nine seasons with the Jayhawks. His nine seasons remain tied with Glen Mason (1988-96) for the most years coached at the school. His 44 victories rank fourth all-time at the school behind A.R. Kennedy (52 from 1904-10), Mason (47) and current Jayhawk head coach Mark Mangino (45 since 2002).

Mitchell led KU to its second-ever bowl appearance and first bowl victory as the Jayhawks defeated Rice in the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl to cap a 7-3-1 season. He led KU to .500 or better records in six straight seasons, only the third time that occurred in school history.

Mitchell was a native of Arkansas City, Kan., where he played football, basketball and tennis at Arkansas City High School. After graduation he attended the University of Texas and Arkansas City Junior College before entering military service during World War II.

He played quarterback at the University of Oklahoma after the war and graduated in 1949 with a major in psychology.

Mitchell’s first coaching job was at Blackwell (Okla.) High School. He worked as an assistant at Tulsa in 1950 and Texas Tech in 1951-52 before becoming a head coach at Wichita State in 1953-54. He was the head coach at Arkansas for three seasons before taking over at Kansas before 1958.