Former Ohio State women's basketball coach Mark Mitchell dead at 56

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Mark Mitchell, who for several years was an assistant coach for the Ohio State women’s basketball team, has died. He was 56.

Mitchell more recently spent the past four seasons coaching the Wilberforce University men’s basketball team. Wilberforce competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.


Ohio State Buckeyes logo

The Ohio State Buckeyes logo is seen at midcourt prior to the NCAA women’s basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb 8, 2023. (Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch)

“While his title was Men’s Basketball Coach, he made an impact on not just his players but the entire campus community both on and off the court. We join with countless others in mourning this great loss, but we remain grounded in knowing that he lived an exceptional life and left a legacy that will live on in every young man and woman he ever coached,” the Wilberforce athletics department said in a statement.


During his time in Columbus, Mitchell helped coach the Buckeyes to a pair of Big Ten Conference regular season titles. Ohio State reached the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament four times during his time behind the bench.

“As a program, we are devastated to hear of the passing of former assistant coach, Mark Mitchell,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said in a statement. Mark was extremely dedicated to his family, friends and players. His passion for young people allowed him to positively shape the lives of so many who had the privilege of playing for him.”

Ohio State women's basketball

A basketball sits on the court prior to the first-round game in the NCAA Women’s Tournament between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Maine Black Bears at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday. (Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Mitchell was also the father of WNBA star Kelsey Mitchell, Prior to being the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, she played at Ohio State from 2014-18, where she earned All-American honors four years.

Mitchell enjoyed a successful run as a high school basketball coach. He led Taft High School, a school in the Cincinnati area, to the state championship in 2011.


“He was more than just a coach,” former Ohio State football star and former NFL player Adolphus Washington, who is also an alumnus of Taft High School, said in a statement sent to Cincinnati news station WCPO-TV. “He is what you want as a coach, as a father figure, as a mentor. He was overall a person you would want to have in your corner.”

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