Beaufort County gets new athletic director

Published 6:33 pm Friday, June 16, 2023

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For The Washington Daily News

Beaufort County native Keith Mitchell is the new county athletic director.  He’s taken over for Joe Tkach , who will run the BCS driver’s education program.

 Mitchell wants to continue giving students in the area an opportunity to thrive in athletics. “Students need athletics every day,” Mitchell said. “I want everyone to have the opportunity to play a sport. They will make lifelong memories, meet new people, and sometimes even play at the college level.” Tkach worked with Mitchell’s father in the past and is now helping Keith learn the ropes.

Mitchell grew up in Beaufort County and has been surrounded by athletics and education his whole life. His father, Bing, was the football coach and athletic director at Northside and Washington while his mother taught at P.S. Jones Middle School for most of her career. The Northside Panthers football and track teams compete on Bing Mitchell Field. His twin brother, Kevin, also has a history in education, teaching in both Beaufort and Pitt County schools.

“I basically grew up in gyms,” Mitchell said. “I would go with my dad to football fields and watch kids play. I’ve done that since I was a kid so you could say athletics is in my blood.”

Mitchell taught in Beaufort County for eight years before working in administrative roles. He was the principal of John Small Elementary for two and a half years before taking the athletic director position.

He said the big difference between working as a principal and athletic director is that he is not tied down to one school. “When I was principal, I only had to worry about the kids in the school. Now, I have to think about every student in the schools across the county,” Mitchell said.

He is responsible for ensuring that high school and middle school athletics are where they need to be. This consists of overseeing coaching contracts, making sure facilities are up to par, managing various athletic events around the county, and assisting other schools ADs.

School ADs are in charge of scheduling their games for all sports which can be tedious work. They are also responsible for medical release forms from the students and making sure students are eligible to play. Mitchell works with them to ensure everything is as it should be.

Mitchell placed lots of importance on making sure the kids have satisfying athletic opportunities. “I don’t want to be stagnant,” Mitchell said. “I want to continue to provide the kids with quality athletic experiences and see that they are establishing positive experiences in the world of sports.”

He has lots of experience in many different fields, all of which contribute to his new position. Combined with the knowledge he obtained from his family through the years, he feels he is in it for the long haul. “I have been a teacher, athletic director, coach, and principal, Mitchell said. “I have the knowledge and experience to know how to help various groups of people. I would love to be able to retire doing this job and I am looking forward to helping our kids have a great athletic experience.”