Marc Mitchell will have another chance to coach high school basketball in the Milwaukee area, something he himself doubted would happen when he was fired by Milwaukee King in October just months after taking the job.
Wauwatosa West has hired Mitchell as its varsity boys basketball coach, a vacancy that was created when Chad Stelse resigned during the season in early February. Pat McCabe served as interim head coach, guiding the Trojans to a 3-4 mark, including a regional semifinal loss to Wauwatosa East. It is not yet known if McCabe will stay on as an assistant coach under Mitchell.
"You never know what can happen," Mitchell said of getting a chance to coach again. "At the time, I thought that it might not happen. But from what I've been hearing, I've had a lot of people telling me this is a better opportunity than King, so I have to make the best of it. It was just an opportunity that came up, I applied for it and I went after it. It worked in my favor.
Following a standout prep career at Milwaukee Washington in which he helped the Purgolders to the 1987 state championship, Mitchell went on to play two seasons at UW-Milwaukee from 1991-93 before a professional career overseas.
Mitchell was hired as the head coach at Milwaukee Custer in 2001 and led what is now the Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education to a 79-70 record over seven seasons, including a trip to the state tournament in 2003.
“We are very excited to have Marc Mitchell as our new boys basketball coach," Tosa West athletic director Jeff Gabrielsen said. "Marc has a proven record of success and accomplishment throughout his career and we are looking for him to do the same at Tosa West. Marc has been coaching for almost 20 years and has won conference championships along with taking teams to state. I look forward to coach Mitchell leading our boys basketball program to new levels of accomplishment both on and off the court.”
After leaving Custer, Mitchell joined the coaching staff at Milwaukee King under Jim Gosz. When Gosz resigned last May to become head coach at Dominican High School, Mitchell was promoted to head coach in July.
Mitchell was let go by King in October and replaced by Doug Lewis. He said at the time that the termination stemmed from a misunderstanding around a shooting machine that had been taken from Barack Obama Career Tech. He fought his termination with the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, which eventually awarded Mitchell his coaching salary for the 2016-17 season but did not reinstate him as head coach.
"That is nothing even to discuss," Mitchell said. "It is over with. You just move on and go on from there."
Mitchell will inherit a Tosa West team losing four of its top five scorers, including South Dakota State commit Alou Dillon, from last year's team that finished 12-11 overall and 8-8 in the Woodland West.
It will be a transition season in many ways for the Trojans in 2017-18, as they will also begin play in the Greater Metro Conference.
"I'm very excited," Mitchell said. "I think it is a great opportunity. I think I can really help the Tosa community out with the basketball tradition and talent that they have there. I want to try and take it to another level.
"They have had Division 1 caliber players come through the program but they haven't pushed the envelope. With them going into the Greater Metro and now playing against Marquette High, Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Menomonee Falls, Germantown, Sussex, I mean, going into this new conference against those good coaches, I think I can make those players arrive at that level."
Mitchell will have to wait at least a week to begin to get to know his team, as Tosa West was on spring break when he was hired. But the veteran coach has plenty he wants to accomplish before the summer begins.
"Next week is an important week," Mitchell said. "I'll have a meet and greet with the kids and the parents to tell them my expectations. I want to get working on a summer league schedule and get to know the kids to go from there."