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TAMPA - Longtime Wharton football assistant David Mitchell is officially the Wildcats head coach, school officials announced Thursday.
Mitchell replaced Melvin Cunningham, who resigned earlier this month after going 7-13 in two seasons.
Mitchell has been a member of the school's physical education department and the head wrestling coach at Wharton since the school's opening in 1997.
"David is one of the hardest-working coaches I've seen," assistant principal and athletic director Lanness Robinson said. "He is extremely fair and consistent in his handling of players and has their respect and trust."
Before teaching at Wharton, Mitchell, 44, was an assistant football coach at Leto. A graduate of Leto and Yankton College in South Dakota, this will be Mitchell's first head coaching position in football.
"I'm just happy to be here to help rebuild the Wharton football program," Mitchell said.
Mitchell has served as Wharton's receivers and running backs coach, assisting Cunningham and former Wildcats coach Richard Woods. Mitchell served in a similar capacity at Leto.
Mitchell will continue to serve as Wharton wrestling coach.
"David is exactly the right person for the job," Wharton basketball coach Tommy Tonelli said. "I know if anyone can achieve success with the football program, it is David Mitchell."