During his 25-year tenure with St. Maries volleyball, Mitch and his teams dominated the A2 state tournament for years, and he was awarded Idaho state coach of the year 11 times. He credits much of that success to a combination of his coaching style and the work ethic of his athletes.
“Either you desire to recreate or you desire to be competitive, and there’s something to be said about both. There’s nothing wrong with recreational play, that fulfills a purpose, but it’s really not for me,” he said of his coaching style. “I get too competitive, and I like to see the game played at the highest level.”
His teams not only played at the highest level, they dominated the highest level, claiming 11 A2 state titles – 10 of which were consecutive – and consistently defeating schools from higher classifications – most notably, A1 rival Sandpoint.
In fact, the Lumberjacks held a national record with the fifth-longest winning streak in the nation’s history with 145 consecutive matches won. That record was snapped in 1994 in front of a crowd of 1,100 fans at Sandpoint. That game, played in pre-rally scoring days, went five matches, 9-15, 12-15, 15-11, 15-7, 13-15. The Bulldogs went on to win the A1 state trophy that season.