Kitchens joined the North Texas staff after one season as a graduate assistant at Louisiana State University. He served on Nick Saban's first Tiger staff in 2000, managing the offensive scout team and helping with the LSU special teams. That LSU team went 9-4 overall, including a 28-14 win over Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl.
He began his collegiate coaching career at Glenville (W.Va.) State College, where he coached the running backs and tight ends in 1999. He played football professionally in Italy during the 1998 season.
A three-year starter at quarterback as a player for the University of Alabama from 1995-97, he was a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award candidate as a senior, and was a member of Crimson Tide teams that went to the '93 Gator Bowl, '94 Citrus Bowl, and '96 Outback Bowls.
A native of Attalla, Ala., Kitchens was a high school all-America and was named "Mr. Football" in the state of Alabama his senior season. He is married to the former Ginger Van Over.
What was it that attracted you to Mississippi State?
"Overall, it is a great situation. Coming into a place that has struggled the last few years is very challenging. It is an opportunity to get done something that hasn't been done the last few years. It is very exciting to have that opportunity.
"But to work with Coach Croom is great. It was something that I couldn't turn down. (Working with) Woody (McCorvey) and Ellis (Johnson) made it that much easier."
What is it about Coach Croom that made you want to work for him?
"After talking to him on the phone, one thing you realize is he is fair and a very loyal guy. And that is what he expects out of you. He is also a good-hearted guy who is down to earth and has class and integrity."
Some people say a team reflects its coach. Do you think this Mississippi State team will reflect the traits that Coach Croom has as a coach and person?
" I don't think there is any doubt that this team will eventually play with high character and a lot of integrity."
What did he tell you was the reason he wanted you on his staff?
"You talk to enough people about certain individuals and you get enough feedback in a positive way, then you tend to believe that. Hopefully, that is what he heard about me."
What do you think you bring to this coaching staff?
"I think a lot of coaching is getting the players that play for you to trust you and believe in you. The relationship between a coach and player has a lot to do with trust. If they trust you, then they will play hard for you. If you get them to play hard for you, that is half the battle."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.