Former Tide Star Mitchell Into ASHOF

Former University of Alabama defensive end and current defensive line coach for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers John Mitchell will be one of ten to be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

A native of Mobile, he was a two-time Junior College All-America at Eastern Arizona Junior College. His play at Eastern Arizona did not go unnoticed as the likes of USC were recruiting him, until Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant offered him a scholarship to Alabama. He was Alabama's first African-American All-America in 1972. He was a two time All-SEC Player and a member of the Kodak All-America Team in 1972. He was elected team co-captain his senior year.

Instead of pursuing a playing career in the NFL, he wanted to attend graduate school and Coach Bryant offered him a full-time assistant coaching position, which he accepted. For 36 years he has coached both on the collegiate and professional levels and is considered one of the best defensive coaches in the game. While on the coaching staff of Mike Archer at Louisiana State University, he became the first African-American Defensive Coordinator in the Southeastern Conference in 1990.

For the past 15 years, he has been a member of Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff and is the longest-tenured member of the Steelers coaching staff. He has helped groom some of the best defensive linemen in the NFL today; and has had a major role in the Steelers two Super Bowl victories in 2006 and 2008.

Other members of the Class of 2009 include: Larry Blakeney (football), Stephen Bolt (track), Tommy Brooker (football), Janelle Kirtley Godfrey (water skiing), Charley Hannah (football), Jimmy Key (baseball), and Lee May (baseball). The Distinguished Alabama Sportsman is Ronald G. Bruno and the Distinguished American Sportsman is Nicholas J. "Nick" Bollettieri.

To order tickets for the Saturday Induction Banquet at the Birmingham Sheraton Hotel call the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame toll free at 877-323-6665.

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