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Trailblazing coach at University of Memphis has died

Former football assistant coach Eldridge "Pete" Mitchell passed away at the age of 87.
Credit: chones - stock.adobe.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A trailblazing coach at University of Memphis has died.

Eldridge "Pete" Mitchell, the first Black football coach in the history of the U of M, passed away Friday at the age of 87.

In 1970, he joined the Tigers as an assistant football coach and recruiter under former head coach Billy J. Murphy. Mitchell also was on Coach Fred Pancoast’s staff as well as Coach Richard Williamson’s.

"The entire city of Memphis and our football program mourn the loss of Coach Mitchell. He was a pioneer, who accomplished so many wonderful things in his lifetime. We are forever grateful for his contributions and the standard he set," said current Memphis head football coach Ryan Silverfield.

Mitchell, a native Memphian, also was the head football coach at Melrose High School for 13 years, where he coached teams to two league championships.