Mitch Cole resigns to accept assistant coach position at major NCAA Division I institution

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern Athletics Director Joe Dean Jr. today announced the resignation of the college's head men's basketball coach Mitch Cole to accept an assistant coach position at a major conference NCAA Division I school. Dean said that an announcement of Cole's hiring is expected soon by his new institution.

Cole is coming off one of the most successful seasons in BSC men's basketball history that included an NCAA Division III Provisional Tournament Championship and D3hoops South Region Coach of the Year honors.

"This is a bittersweet time for all of us who love the Birmingham-Southern basketball program," said Dean. "Mitch Cole has been on our campus for 16 years, and took over the program during the transition from Division I to Division III. Winning the SCAC Championship this past season was a remarkable accomplishment and just shows the talents and efforts of Coach Cole in continuing the winning tradition of BSC basketball. We are sad to be losing him, but are excited for Mitch and his family at this wonderful opportunity in his professional career."

Dean said the search for a replacement already has begun and he expects the announcement of Cole's successor to come quickly.

Cole led the Panthers to a 23-4 overall record in 2010-11 and a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship. BSC was 14-2 in conference play in its last season as a provisional member of NCAA Division III. The Panthers will be eligible for conference and NCAA postseason play in 2011-12.

Cole's squad ended the season by winning the NCAA Division III Provisional Tournament Championship with a 69-60 victory over Covenant College in Steubenville, Ohio, March 5.

Since taking over as the college's 12th men's head coach in 2006, Cole rebuilt the Panther program after the transition from NCAA Division I to III. His teams were 67-35 during that time, including a SCAC East Division title in 2009-10. His first BSC team in 2007 was comprised completely of freshmen.

A native of New Orleans, Cole served 11 seasons as an assistant to longtime BSC Hall of Fame Coach Duane Reboul. He played college ball at Montana State University, and had coaching stints at Auburn University and Southeastern Louisiana University before arriving at Birmingham-Southern in 1995.