Mitchell, who came to Southern after serving as the running backs coach for the Washington Redskins, was in the third and final guaranteed year of a contract paying him $200,000 annually.
Mitchell was 6-18 in his third season at Southern. He is 14-42 overall as a head coach after going 8-24 in three previous seasons at Morgan State.
Mitchell has been reassigned within the athletic department, SU Athletic Director William Broussard said.
Dawson Odums, the defensive coordinator, will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, Broussard said.
On Thursday at A.W. Mumford Stadium, in a game televised by ESPNU, Southern lost 6-0 to Mississippi Valley State for only the second time in the past 20 seasons. Southern tallied just 197 total yards and turned the ball over three times.
The Jaguars have been outscored 72-21 with seven turnovers in two games this season. And though SU’s first loss was on the road to New Mexico, a team from the Football Bowl Subdivision, the loss against Valley — a historically hapless Southwestern Athletic Conference rival — signaled that the Jaguars weren’t making the progress hoped for by this time in the Mitchell era.
Mitchell was hired in January 2010 to replace Pete Richardson, who was fired in December 2009. Richardson, who was let go before he could serve the final year of his contract, was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in June.
While success on the field proved elusive, Mitchell was able to navigate the team through troubles with the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate. SU was ineligible for postseason play last season because of its academic woes. The penalties were the result of problems at the end of the Richardson era.
Southern’s next game will be at Jackson State on Sept. 22 in Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss. Referenced