Coppin State coach Mitchell cleared for season opener

Updated: December 8, 2004, 8:03 AM ET

BALTIMORE - Coppin State men's basketball coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell was cleared by doctors Tuesday to guide the team in its season opener against No. 9 Kentucky on Saturday.

Mitchell underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor the size of a fist from his chest on October 19 at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The tumor was discovered earlier that month after the 56-year-old coach complained of shortness of breath in the spring.

Also Coppin State's athletics director, Mitchell will return on a part-time basis but expects to be cleared for full-time duty within four weeks.

"My doctor wants me to work only part-time, so that means I'm a basketball coach," Mitchell said. "I will go on trips, but I have to take it easy and sit down. I can't be my normal self."

Entering his 19th season as coach of Coppin State, Mitchell has guided the Eagles to three NCAA Tournament appearances - including an upset victory over South Carolina in the first round in 1997 - and six 20-win seasons in the past 13 years.

The six-time Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year is the all-time winningest coach in school history with 304 career triumphs.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index