The Bronxville School will officially unveil its new track and host a dedication ceremony for the facility in honor of longtime coach James Owen Mitchell on Oct. 12 during the homecoming football game’s halftime.
The track is named after Mitchell in light of his 41 years of coaching the girls cross-country, indoor and outdoor track and field teams and the success and accomplishment of his athletes. Mitchell came to Bronxville High School in 1978 as a Latin teacher, and in the spring of 1979, a time when it had only just been formally recognized that females should be encouraged and assisted in the pursuit of amateur athletic activities, he introduced the first girls outdoor track program in Bronxville. By 1981, Mitchell had started the girls cross-country and indoor track programs as well.
“I have had the pleasure of watching him coach for the last 22 years,” Athletic Director Karen Peterson said. “What has always amazed me is that he made every runner feel special and found a way for them to play a meaningful role on the team while they improved individually. His runners have learned invaluable life lessons through running.”
Mitchell’s career record includes 41 consecutive league championships and 37 section titles for outdoor track and field; 39 consecutive league championships and 33 section titles for indoor track; and 38 consecutive league championships, 30 section titles and 12 state championships for cross-country. Under his leadership, five relay teams have won national championships, including one with a national record setting time. He has produced 57 girls who have earned 170 All-American honors and 14 Con Edison Scholar Athletes. He was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2007 and into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2013.
Mitchell is known for instilling a love for running and competing in his athletes and serving as a beloved mentor. Jim Agnello, who has been Bronxville’s boys varsity cross-country coach for the last 20 years, described Mitchell as a selfless coach, colleague and friend.
“He has served as a surrogate parent for thousands of athletes over the years,” Agnello said. “All of them affectionately call him ‘Mitch’ or a demonstrative ‘Mitchell.’ They simply love him. My most sincere thank-you for being a superior role model for thousands of athletes and hundreds of coaches. His impact will continue for years to come.”