After four seasons at the helm of Springville football, coach Scott Mitchell has decided to step down.
The former Utah star who played quarterback in the NFL told the Tribune that he felt he could no longer commit the time to lead his alma mater. Mitchell runs a software company, and he realized his job would force him to travel and split his focus away from football.
"It's been on my mind, and I was really hoping I could work things out," Mitchell said. "But I've been almost full-time into coaching, and that was the commitment I made. I can't do it halfway. It was in everyone's best interests that I step down."
Mitchell helped resurrect the program after taking over in 2008, taking the Red Devils to the 4A state title game in 2009 and going back to the semifinals in 2010. Springville had a disappointing 2011, finishing only 3-8 but still played in a play-in game that they lost to Herriman.
Overall, Mitchell finished with a 30-17 record. He also guided the program through one of its darkest times during the 2010 season, after linebacker Brandon Curtis died from injuries from a car accident on campus.
In a career that's spanned college football and the NFL, Mitchell is particularly proud that he was able to coach at his hometown program.
"A lot of who I am is where I grew up, and I was fortunate to be around really good people," he said. "I wanted to be a good influence on these kids too, which was the main reason I came back. It was great how people embraced me coming back here, and that's what makes it so hard."
As a coach, Mitchell was known to be an emotional leader. Particularly in the 2010 season, Mitchell drove his players to compete for their fallen teammate. It helped drive the Red Devils to the high point of the season: a quarterfinal win over Timpview, who had beaten them in the state title game the year before.
"He left a great legacy while he was here - we went as far as we had ever gone since he played quarterback in 1985," assistant coach Willy Child said. "He was very passionate about football."
Mitchell said his departure from Springville didn't necessarily mean he is done coaching. Although he expects to be busy particularly in the next year, he said he would be open to returning to "help out in some way" if an opportunity manifested itself.
Timpview coach Louis Wong, who had some epic games with Springville, hoped the Red Devils could stay competitive in the post-Mitchell era.
"He's brought the level of the program hopefully to a place where they can keep it," Wong said. "He was never afraid to play us, and his teams were never intimidated by us. It made us better, too."
Child said the Nebo School District would officially open the head coaching position on Monday morning. A school release said the district would accept applications until February 15.
Child added that he would apply for the job.
- Kyle Goon