The Legacy of James Owen Mitchell
The Bronxville School is pleased to announce that the new track will be named the James Owen Mitchell Track. The Bronxville School and athletic community honor “Mitch” in light of his 41 years of coaching the Girls Cross Country, Indoor Track & Field, and Outdoor Track & Field teams, and for the success and accomplishment of these athletes and teams. Please join the Bronxville community in a dedication ceremony on Saturday, October 12th during the Varsity Football Game at halftime. The game will begin at 6:00 pm.
It was 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. Before President Carter signed the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, women had actually been prohibited from participating in some running events. Mitch introduced the first Girls Outdoor Track program in Bronxville and in doing so was among the first to capitalize on these new avenues available to young women, and with phenomenal success. By 1981, Mitch had started the Girls Cross Country and Indoor Track Programs as well.
The accolades for Mitch’s female athletes and teams are both impressive and abundant. He has produced 57 girls who have earned 170 All-American honors and 14 Con Edison Scholar Athletes. He has 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. Five Relay teams have won National Championships, one with a national record setting time. In 2007 Mitch was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame and in 2013 into New York State Public HS Athletic Hall of Fame.
While the league titles, section titles and State Championships that followed are numerous, what is equally remarkable is the number of runners who went on to compete collegiately. He was far more than a coach, instilling a love for running and competing in his athletes and serving as a beloved mentor. Karen Peterson, Bronxville’s Athletic Director thinks of Mitchell with admiration, “I have had the pleasure of watching Mitch coach for the last 22 years. You will hear a lot about all of his championships, but 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 learned invaluable life lessons through running. This is such a well-deserved recognition.”
Jim Agnello whom has been Bronxville’s Boys Varsity Cross Country Coach for the past 20 years describes the honoree, “Jim Mitchell is the epitome of a selfless Coach, colleague, and friend. He is a family man taking car rides with his wife Joann on Sundays after coaching 6 days a week for 51 years and raising his successful adult children Dana and Chris. He has served as a surrogate parent for thousands of athletes over the years. All of them affectionately calling him "Mitch" or a demonstrative "Mitchell," they simply love him.” Mr. Agnello goes on to say, “My most sincere thank you for being a superior role model for thousands of athletes and hundreds of coaches. You will be missed greatly. Your impact will continue for years to come.”
Jim Mitchell is a native of Brooklyn, NY, attended Regis High School and then Fordham University. He coached the Boys track team at Fordham from 1972-1978 and came to Bronxville High School in 1978 as a Latin Teacher. The rest, as they say is history, as the following year he began a coaching career that would span over forty years. Mitch has been supported all of these years and seasons, by his wife of 47 years JoAnn, and children Christopher and Dana, a Captain in the US Marines.
In honor of all “Mitch” has accomplished and the number of athletes that have been impacted by his coaching, the Board of Education proclaimed on April 23, 2019 to name the track the “James Owen Mitchell Track”. We congratulate Mitch on all of his accomplishments and take this opportunity to express our gratitude for his years of dedication and teaching.