mitchell ron.coppin.state.stateRon “Fang” Mitchell cast a broad shadow over the basketball landscape at Coppin State College, a small inner city school on North Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland.

A little background on Coppin State

Founded in 1900 as the Colored High School (later named Douglass High School) on Pennsylvania Avenue, it begin as a one-year training course to train elementary school teachers and by 1902, the training program was expanded to a two-year high school, and in 1926, was named the Fanny Jackson Coppin Normal School in honor of the outstanding African-American woman who was a pioneer in teacher education. (Fanny Jackson Coppin was born a slave in Washington, DC and after she gained her freedom, graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, and founded the Philadelphia Institute that was the forerunner of Cheyney State University).

By 1938, the school became a four-year institution, granting Bachelor of Science degrees, and the name of the Normal School was changed to Coppin Teachers College. In 1950, Coppin became part of the higher education system of Maryland under the State Department of Education, and renamed Coppin State Teachers College. Two years later, Coppin moved to its present 38-acre site on West North Avenue.

Mitchell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was raised in Camden, New Jersey where he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. Unable to afford college tuition, Mitchell worked his way through college- attending Gloucester County College and playing on the basketball team.
He attended Rutgers University–Camden for a year while working as a shoe company manager and printing sales representative. He opened his own clothing store (Mr. Fang’s Athletic Attire) in Glassboro, New Jersey, and became so successful he expanded from one to three locations.

In 1978, despite no coaching experience, Mitchell became head coach at Gloucester County College and led the previously struggling Gloucester County Roadrunners to a 19–11 record his first season. They went on to have consecutive seasons with 26 or more wins per year until the 1985–86 season and the Roadrunners made the NJCAA Tournament in 1980, 1981, 1985, and 1986.

While coaching the GCC team, Mitchell became a good friend of Temple coach John Chaney and assisted at Temple University basketball camps. He also found time to complete his Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Thomas Edison State College in 1984.

mitchell-ron.coppin.state-3The Eagles in Flight

In 1986, Coppin State had acquired University status and was a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). They hired Mitchell to be head coach for the Coppin State Eagles men’s basketball team- a position he would hold for the next 28 seasons and was named MEAC Coach of the Year six times. He led the Eagles to ten first place finishes in the MEAC regular season standings and onto four NCAA Tournament appearances.

The 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.
Coppin State finished the 1993 season with a 22–8 record and first in the MEAC and a bid to the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
Coppin State 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.
Mitchell would lead Coppin State to it’s last NCAA Tournament berth in 2008.

In 2014, Mitchell’s tenure at Coppin State ended after a decade long losing streak.

[ezcol_1half]Career Record
227-46 (Gloucester CC)
429-417 (Coppin State)
.706 winning percentage
[ezcol_1half_end]Eleven MEAC Championships
Four NCAA Playoff appearances
Two NIT appearances

Season by Season

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  


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