ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson University will be adding men's lacrosse to its expanding list of intercollegiate sports opportunities with the addition of men's lacrosse, as announced on Monday by Vice President for Athletics, Dr. Bert Epting, Jr.
Albert Mitchell has been named as the Trojans' head coach and will lead the program, beginning Monday.
The Black and Gold's inaugural season will be during the 2020-2021 academic year and will raise AU's varsity sports offerings to 19 sports, including the coed cheer squad.
The Trojans join nine other South Atlantic Conference members who currently offer men's lacrosse and with the addition of men's lacrosse in the Electric City, the SAC will boast 11 members sponsoring the sport (UVa Wise and Carson-Newman are the exceptions), including national powerhouse Limestone, which will join the league next year.
"We are very excited about the addition of men's lacrosse to Anderson University and I am certain the team will contribute to our legacy of athletic success," said President Evans Whitaker. "More importantly, the young men who join our program will receive an excellent education rooted in character development and intentional discipleship. We are looking forward to the future of Trojan athletics with great anticipation."
Anderson sponsors nine men's sports including baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field. Nine women's intercollegiate sports are also offered, including basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, volleyball, and indoor and outdoor track & field, alongside cheerleading.
"We are thrilled to be bringing this exciting new sport to Anderson University," said Epting. "The caliber of young men – both athletically and academically – will take our athletics program to new heights. With Albert leading the program, I truly believe we will see great success in the future, both in the classroom and as members of the Trojan family."
Mitchell, who spent the last two seasons at UMass Lowell as the co-recruiting coordinator, defensive coordinator and face-off coordinator, will take the reins of the brand new program that is set to begin competition in the spring of 2021. The initial year will be spent recruiting student-athletes as well as preparing a schedule and gathering equipment needed to run the program.
Mitchell helped lead the River Hawks to 13 victories over the past two seasons, including tying a program high with eight wins in 2018. His defense allowed just 10.6 goals per game during the 2018 campaign, while also posting program records with 13.53 saves per game, in man-down percentage, face-off percentage and face-offs won.
Along with his other coaching responsibilities, Mitchell served as camp coordinator and worked with community service, alumni relations, team travel, budgets and academic supervision.
Prior to his time with the River Hawks, Mitchell spent two seasons at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., as offensive coordinator and face-off coach. He also served as an assistant coach at Bryant University and Assumption College prior to his time at Mercer.
"I would like to thank Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Epting and Mr. Landrith for giving me this opportunity to be the first head coach of Anderson University lacrosse," said Mitchell. "My family and I are honored to plant our roots in the Anderson community and lay a strong foundation for lacrosse in this area. The excitement for adding men's lacrosse is evident on campus and lacrosse is a perfect sport for Anderson with the sport's consistent growth in the region.
Mitchell was a four-year player on the St. Mary's College of Maryland men's lacrosse team from 2009 to 2013. He was captain of the team when they won the Capital Athletic Conference Championship in 2013. He was a USILA Scholar All-American in 2013 and was a two-time All-Capital Athletic Conference Team selection in 2012 and 2013.
"I'm excited to start the recruiting process for Anderson's first class of freshmen and to get this program underway," added Mitchell. "The school's commitment to faith, high academic standards and its' beautiful campus make this an ideal university for student-athletes who are looking for a great college lacrosse experience."
Mitchell graduated from St. Mary's College in 2013 with a degree in sociology. He also earned his master's degree in higher educational leadership while at Mercer.
"We are excited to welcome Albert and his wife, Carolyn, to Anderson University as members of the Trojan Army," Epting added.