Mitchell honored for his 35 years at Lynn Camp
Former Wildcat Joe Roskopf with legendary coach David Mitchell.
It was a reunion of former players, fans and assistant coaches Saturday evening at the Corbin Civic Center, all in honor of former Lynn Camp High School head football coach David Mitchell.
Over 200 people came and went during the three-hour event to celebrate the lasting legacy Mitchell left at the high school, and the impression he made on his former players.
Mitchell coached at Lynn Camp for 35 years, 34 as head coach, before being fired by school district administrators earlier this year.
“It was hard to go like that, but I have sort of come to terms with it,” Mitchell said during the event. “I loved coaching at Lynn Camp. You don’t do something for that long unless you love it, and I did. I really loved doing it. I enjoyed it every day. Not a lot of people can say that about their job.”
Mitchell got handshakes and hugs from just about every direction during the reception. Many of those on hand were former players who said they were grateful to Mitchell for influencing their lives, on and off the field.
“He was like a father to me. I enjoyed the four years I played for him and, to this day, I still love him as much as I did then,” said Joe Roskopf, one of Lynn Camp High School’s career rushing leaders. In 2006, he led all Class A high schools in rushing with 2,112 yards — an average of 211.2 per game.
“I’m thankful for all the opportunities that he gave me. It was wrong what happened to him,” Roskopf added. “Football was his whole life. I think that’s why he can’t stand it being away from it now.”
Josh McDermott, a former assistant coach under Mitchell for four years, is now a biology teacher at Knox Central High School, but said his time with Mitchell was well spent.
“I’ve been on a couple of different coaching staffs, but coach Mitchell’s was different from the beginning. It was more like a family.”
McDermott said that, even though he never played for Mitchell, the coach was always open to his ideas.
“I was an outsider, but he would ask me what I thought and wanted to know if there was a way we could do things better,” McDermott said. “He listened. He invited opinions with open arms. It was the best staff I’ve been on.”
Mitchell finished his career with a 175-202 record, but had many exciting seasons along the way, including regional final appearances and a state semifinal appearance against perennial power Beechwood in 2003.
“I could have gone somewhere else and probably won more games, but I really loved coaching at Lynn Camp. It wasn’t always just about winning games,” Mitchell said. “It’s humbling that all these people are here today for me. It makes me feel good.”
Those in attendance enjoyed a meal and a chance to relive old times. A table of old newspaper stories, team programs and other memorabilia was set up as well.
Mitchell said he’d still like to coach football somewhere, and thought he was going to become an assistant at Breathitt County this year, but things didn’t work out.
“I heard someone say once that coaching is kind of like drugs in a way. I’ve never done drugs, but it does get in your blood,” Mitchell said. “I love doing it. Old coaches like me still live to get high on Friday nights.”
All fields but Phone Number are required to submit a comment, but contact information is for internal communication only.