Kansas University today named 33-year-old Jack Mitchell as its 30th had football coach and gave him a five-year contract calling for $15,000 a year.
Announcement of the selection of a successor to the resigned Chuck Mather was made at 9:30 this morning in the office of KU chancellor Franklin D. Murphy, Mitchell, Arkansas coach since 1955, has been considered a top prospect for the job since before Mather resigned under pressure on Oct. 30.
Today's move followed a Wednesday interview here with Mitchell and a lengthy KU Athletic Board meeting Wednesday night.
Statements by Officials
These statements were issued this morning at the time of the announcement:
MITCHELL- "The decision to leave the fine University of Arkansas was a difficult one for we have been happy indeed these past three years. On the other hand, we are very proud to return to our home state to join the Kansas University family. My wife, Jeanne, and I were born in Kansas, raised in Kansas, and plan to live out our lives in Kansas."
DR. MURPHY- "fifteen thousand dollars is THE compensation. I have read of a number of fringe benefits, such as TV and radio commitments, and others, but there are none of those in this commitment. Mr. Mitchell is the choice of the director of athletics A. C. Lonborg. Mr. Lonborg and Mr. Lonborg alone, made this recommendation to the Athletic Board. The board approved unanimously this choice and it has the approval of the Board of Regents. Mitchell has the unanimous and enthusiastic approval of the Athletic Board. On that board all the forces which guide the University are represented."
ATHLETIC DIRECTOR LONBORG- "I think we are fortunate to have coach of Jack's caliber heading our football program at the University."
Of the $15,000 salary, $2,400 will come from the state and the rest from the profits realized by the KU Athletic Department.
Mitchell didn't leave Lawrence until late Wednesday and was en route to Arkansas University at Fayetteville today. He could not be reached for comment so it was not certain when he would be able to get here to begin his new duties.
A disposition on Mitchell's assistants here is to be made later. However, during his Wednesday visit, the handsome young coach said he planned to bring all five of his Arkansas aides to Kansas, if he got the job.
Current Mitchell Aides
Mitchell's current aides are George Bernhardt, former Washburn assistant: Gene Corroto, one-time KU assistant under J. V. Sikes; Dixie White; Steed White: Bill Pace.
Five Mather assistants resigned with him. They are Tom Triplett, Paul Schofer, Lauri Wartisinen, Dick Piskoty and Dave Putts. It is doubtful if any of them will be retained by Mitchell. Mather's four-year KU record was 11-26-3.
Bernhardt Is Overjoyed
Bernhardt was reached at his home in Fayetteville this morning and said, "I'm overjoyed at the news. I sure am looking forward to returning to Kansas and I know Jack surely is."
There are reports that in addition to his salary, Mitchell, will be awarded a lucrative weekly television show and a house in Lawrence. No comment was made on salaries for assistants.
Mitchell has been head coach at a major college five years-two at Wichita and three at Arkansas. His record for that period is 30-17-2 and his 1957 Razorback team had a 6-4 mark.
The new KU coach signed a five-year Arkansas contract for $12,500 a year in 1955. Then before this season he was given a 10-year agreement for $15,000 a year. He emphasizes he and Arkansas have always had the understanding he could move any time he wished.
He stressed here Wednesday that salary is not the main consideration in the matter. He has said that he would be happy to be able to head up a football program in his home state.
Mitchell played junior high and high school football at Arkansas City, Kas., then attended Texas University for part of his freshman year. He withdrew and went back to Arkansas City Junior College briefly before going into the armed forces during World War II.
Married in 1946
Mitchell and Miss Jeanne Kincheloe of Arkansas City were married in 1946. At the time they were juniors majoring at Oklahoma University in psychology. They have two sons, Jackson 7 and Judson 3.
After his graduation from Oklahoma, where he was an All-American quarterback, Mitchell went to Blackwell, Okla., High School for one year as head coach. The following year he was an assistant coach at Tulsa University and then the next two years - 1951-52 -he was an assistant coach at Texas Tech in Lubbock.
He was head coach at Wichita U. in 1953 and 1954 and led the Shockers to a Missouri Valley title the second season, after a rebuilding campaign. Then he went to Arkansas in 1955.
Outstanding in Tennis
While in high school, Mitchell played football, basketball and tennis. He was an outstanding prep tennis player and he and Gerald Nold once were state doubles champions.
Mitchell is handsome, a fluent speaker with plenty of personality and is independent. Those who know him stress that he demands full control of a football program. He is particularly noted for his ability to inspire boys to their top efforts at all times.