Headed Home: Jalie Mitchell Named WBB Head Coach
North Texas Hall of Famer Aims to Revitalize Program
DENTON -- For years, Jalie Mitchell has topped the record books at North Texas. Now, North Texas will be at the top of her resume.
On April 9, 2015, Mitchell returned to her alma mater to become the eighth head coach in Mean Green women's basketball program history. It is her first-career head coaching position and a dream job for the best player in school history.
"I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to be the head women's basketball coach at my alma mater," Mitchell said. "Since I left here as a player, it has always been my dream to come back and one day lead this program. I'm excited for the challenge of returning this program to the type of success it had when I played here."
Mitchell boasts numerous records as a four-year letterwinniner on the North Texas women's basketball team from 1998-02. She finished as the Mean Green's all-time leading scorer with 1,764 points and tops the list of career free throws made and attempted. In 2002, Mitchell was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year when she averaged 19.4 points per game.
She earned all-conference honors all four years at North Texas and was a part of the winningest senior class in program history, compiling a 77-39 record -- including a 42-4 mark at the Super Pit -- and making back-to-back WNIT appearances in 2001 and 2002.
Mitchell's No. 44 is one of two numbers that has been retired by the Mean Green, and her spectacular playing career culminated in 2007 when she was inducted into the North Texas Hall of Fame.
"This is a great day for the program, the athletic department and the entire University of North Texas," Athletic Director Rick Villarreal said. "We were able to bring back one of our own who has played at the highest level, worked with and learned from some of the most talented coaches in the country and has proven herself as a premier recruiter across the nation."
Previously, Mitchell had been an assistant coach for four seasons under head coach Karen Aston, beginning with the 2011-12 campaign with North Texas. In that campaign, the team went 15-16, which is its best record of the last nine seasons.
When Aston left the Mean Green to coach the Longhorns in 2012, Mitchell followed. In her three seasons at Texas, the team combined for a 60-41 overall record. The Longhorns made the NCAA Tournament field the last two seasons, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2015 -- their first since 2008.
Mitchell began her collegiate coaching career in 2008 as an assistant coach with the Mean Green under Shanice Stephens. She spent two seasons at North Texas under Stephens before taking on the same position at UNC Wilmington for the 2010-11 season. Mitchell helped the Seahawks finish with a 24-9 record and reach the second round of the WNIT, both program bests.
"In addition to her coaching and recruiting skills, Jalie will bring to us an emotion, a passion and a commitment to the university that she doesn't have to think about because it's embedded in her," Villarreal continued. "At the end of the day, this hire was about her ability to bring in quality players and push them to maximize their talents in order to build the kind of program we all want. She brings the added ability to connect to the Dallas market, not just with student-athletes, but also with alumni who share her memories and dreams."
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...
"This is a terrific hire for North Texas, and I am so thrilled for Jalie. She is a rising star in our profession and truly cares not only about winning, but also developing young women. During my time with her over the past four seasons, her commitment was always to the student-athlete first. Jalie is a tremendous recruiter and someone who will embrace helping players achieve their goals, may it be academically or athletically. I am so appreciative of her commitment to helping Texas become successful, and more importantly, I am so proud of her, personally and professionally." -- Karen Aston, Head Coach, University of Texas
"Jalie is going to make a fantastic head coach at this level. She is an incredible recruiter and she can connect with student-athletes on a level that not many coaches can get to. I think this is a great opportunity and I'm extremely proud of her going to North Texas, a place where she has so much passion for that program. The president and athletic director showed great foresight and commitment by bringing in a young, passionate individual like Jalie. I'm looking forward to what she will bring to North Texas women's basketball." -- Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Head Coach, University of Southern California
"Jalie is not only one of the greatest players to ever play at North Texas, but one of the greatest people I have coached throughout the years. Her leadership, vision and loyalty to North Texas women's basketball will be demonstrated in her everyday process. Jalie is a class act and I am proud of her and excited for the future of the program." -- Tina Slinker, former Head Coach, University of North Texas, 1990-2008