MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Brian Mitchell has been hired as cornerbacks coach at West Virginia.
Mitchell replaces Daron Roberts, who was fired after two seasons. West Virginia was among three defenses in the Bowl Subdivision to allow more than 4,000 passing yards in the 2012 season.
"Brian is an excellent addition to the West Virginia football staff and has a wealth of experience as a cornerbacks coach," WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement released by the school. "He brings a lot of energy, is an aggressive recruiter, and I have seen him develop young players into great players. He is an outstanding coach and even better person, and I look forward to him joining our program."
Mitchell, 44, spent the past three seasons as East Carolina's defensive coordinator and secondary coach before being fired. He also had assistant coaching stints at Texas Tech and BYU.
During his coaching tenure, he has been on coaching staffs that have won five conference titles and made 11 bowl appearances. He has coached nine defensive backs who advanced to the NFL.
"It's an honor to be associated with a program that has a great winning tradition such as West Virginia," Mitchell said in a statement released by the school. "I believe the fans are second to none; the state is second to none. It is a privilege to earn the right to go through this process to be a part of this family.
"It's a natural fit for me, coaching cornerbacks, because I played the position at all three levels, in high school, college and in the NFL. I was fortunate enough to play in the NFL with some very dominant football players such as Deion Sanders. I was able to learn, absorb, see, hear and put together and formulate a plan to help young men be very successful at the NCAA Division I level at the cornerback position. Knowledge is key to all things. I've been able to acquire that knowledge over the years and have had success of consistently putting a good product on the field."
In his first year at ECU in 2010, he rebuilt a Pirate defense that lost nine of its 11 starters from the previous campaign, including the entire front seven. Further compounding the struggles were the loss of three prominent two-deep members during the season because of injuries. Despite the personnel shortages, the Pirates still rated among the nation's better turnover-producing units. tying for 34th in fumbles recovered (11) and among the top 60 in total takeaways (22) during his initial year.
In 2011, Mitchell spearheaded and provided oversight to the implementation of a 3-4 scheme, an alignment that produced immediate results and earned ECU a reputation as one of most improved units nationally.
The turnaround enabled the Pirates to move up 64 places on the FBS total defense rankings, allowing 102.5 fewer yards per game, and jump 22 spots in scoring defense by surrendering nearly 12 points per contest less than a year earlier. The attacking approach also helped ECU stand 17th nationally in fumbles recovered, 35th in red-zone efficiency defense and 41st in fourth-down conversion percentage.
In 2012, ECU tied UCF for first place in the Eastern Division of Conference USA with a 7-1 league record and made its second bowl appearance in three years.
Mitchell served a four-year stint on Mike Leach's staff at Texas Tech from 2006-09 as cornerbacks coach, including two years while Holgorsen was offensive coordinator there. The Red Raider pass defense ranked best in the Big 12 Conference in 2006 and 2007, limiting opponents to 188.4 yards per game in 2007 - the only Big 12 program to hold opponents below 200 yards per game.
Mitchell enjoyed success in 11 overall coaching seasons at BYU, helping guide the team to five bowl appearances and a high ranking of No. 5 at the conclusion of the 1996 season. The Cougars captured back-to-back Western Athletic Conference championships during his stay, which included the 1996 squad that rolled to a 14-1 record.
Mitchell, a native of Waco, Texas, played at BYU from 1987-90 and was a seventh-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1991. He spent three seasons in the NFL, splitting time with Atlanta and Dallas.