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TIM BURT PHOTO
New Northwood football coach Pete Mitchell.

Northwood hires Pete Mitchell as football coach

Staff Writer

Northwood’s new football coach, Pete Mitchell, was enjoying life helping run his family business after retiring from a 30-year teaching career in Orange County and the San Joaquin Valley.

But Mitchell, introduced on Monday to replace former coach Phil Roh, said he missed football and is happy to be involved again in the sport he loves.

Mitchell, 59, said he wasn’t looking for a coaching job, but was intrigued when he heard about the Northwood opening.

“I loved to coach and it looks like they might need some help,” he said. “So, I said, ‘what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. I thought, ‘I’m 59, if I’m going to coach anymore, I should do it now.’”

Mitchell, who lives in Huntington Beach, said he didn’t expect to be named the new coach.

“I’m so excited and very happy,” he said after addressing members of the football program.

Mitchell, one of 30 candidates interviewed for the job, impressed Northwood Principal Leslie Roach and Roh, one of Northwood’s athletic directors.

“I think he has some really good experience,” Roach said. “He has a ton of enthusiasm. In talking to him, he’s adaptable to different kinds of kids and programs. But what I really like about him, he’s an educator, he’s sincere and enthusiastic about football, but also kids.”

“He is a family man,” Roh added. “He has a great perspective on the game about growing young men, not just football players. We’ve gone through the process of meeting his sons and you can tell he’s a good father. So he brings us stability to the program which I think is necessary. He’s communicated and shown a genuine care for kids and having an impact on them and he brings an extensive football knowledge so there is credibility there.”

Mitchell began his career as an assistant coach at Marina High and Huntington Beach for about 10 years. He then moved to the Central Valley to help his family out with a restaurant business.

Mitchell, originally from Bakersfield, then went to Wasco High in the San Joaquin Valley from 1995 to 2004, where he was first defensive coordinator and then head coach in 2004.

He then coached at Bakersfield High School in 2005 until 2011. Mitchell then went to coach at Whittier College where he was special teams coordinator before dedicating the last two years to running a family brewing company.

“I did some sales, it’s fun; I enjoy it, but I miss football,” he said. “I really do.”

Now the challenge is to build up the Northwood program, which was 1-9 last season.

“Defensively, I like to bring people; I like to blitz and take some chances defensively; we’re more an attack style defense,” he said. “Offensively, I like the option game. It offers teams that aren’t real big a chance to be successful because it has a lot of deception.”

As for the team goals, Mitchell said:

“We want to play good, competitive football. Wins and losses, I believe, will come. The wins will come with playing good sound fundamental football.”

Mitchell said he also wants to make football positive and fun for the players.

“I want to take care of them and make this a good experience,” he said. “And I want to get numbers up.”

Mitchell plans on talking to the current Northwood assistant coaches about continuing on with the program. One of the Northwood football players asked Mitchell if Roh, who resigned after one season, would be continuing on as an assistant coach. Mitchell said he hoped Roh would.

Mitchell has two sons, Peter, 27, and Alex, 26, who both played football and baseball at Whittier College.

Contact the writer: tiburt@scng.com


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