College hires Hurricanes’ first coach

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Paul D. Camp Community College has hired a head baseball coach to lead its fledgling program. David Mitchell, who has spent the last six years atop the baseball program at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, was tapped by the college to build the newly named Hurricanes program, quite literally, from the ground up.

“My main job will be to sell a vision, since we don’t even have our field ready yet,” said Mitchell during an interview on Tuesday with The Tidewater News. “But when people start seeing the earth move, that’s when things will happen,” referring to the proposed renovations to the ball field behind the college’s main campus on North College Drive in Franklin.

About the Hurricanes’ new coach, PDCCC President Dr. Dan Lufkin said, “I’m very excited. I think he brings a lot of energy and excitement and is going to do a great job building a program from the ground up.”

Mitchell, 42, is a lifelong resident of Suffolk where he attended school before transferring to Alliance Christian Academy to play high school baseball. In college, Mitchell was a four-year starter and three-year captain for Christopher Newport University where he still holds the career record for stolen bases and remains in the top ten in career at-bats, hits, doubles and batting average, and was a Southeastern Regional All-American in 1998.

Mitchell’s coaching career began at his high school alma mater in 2003, and in nine years his teams won four VISAA state championships and produced 21 college baseball players. In 2012 he took over the baseball program at NSA, where for the last six years his teams were consistently ranked in the top ten statewide and produced five more collegiate players. His overall high school record is 214-110.

When asked for a comment about losing his former coach, NSA Athletic Director T.W. Johnson said, “Coach David Mitchell is an excellent baseball coach and even a better person.  He has been a valued member of the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy community and I know he will be the same at Paul D. Camp Community College. We wish Coach Mitchell and Paul D. Camp nothing but the best as they begin their baseball program.”

Mitchell has also been an assistant coach since 2010 for the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plain League, a summer league for college ballplayers.

“I’ve been in this area my entire life, starting with t-ball,” Mitchell said. “I can’t wait to start using the relationships I’ve built to go out and recruit.”

Lufkin added, “He demonstrated through our discussions that he understands fully the mission of the community college and places great value on academic excellence. That coupled with his knowledge of baseball in this community will make him an excellent coach for a startup program.”

The Hurricanes are expected to compete in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) as a Division II institution, which means the college can offer athletes full scholarships for books and tuition, but not living expenses. Mitchell’s first official day on the job will be on Monday, June 12.