Director of Athletics
Jeff Mitchell began his appointment as Director of Athletics at Ball State University on March 20, 2023. A veteran and proven administrator, Mitchell has enjoyed diverse experience in intercollegiate athletics as a student-athlete, graduate assistant, coach, and administrator, with stints in the Southeastern Conference, the West Coast Conference, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt Conference.
From 2018-23, Mitchell served as the Deputy Director of Athletics at the University of Southern Mississippi, with a directed focus on managing the daily operations of the Golden Eagle athletics department. At Southern Miss, Mitchell utilized his extensive background in legal affairs, external relations, and revenue generation to manage the University’s relationship with multi-media rights partner LEARFIELD. Mitchell negotiated the partnership’s new long-term, multi-million-dollar agreement, which began in July of 2020. Mitchell also helped negotiate a new long-term agreement with ticketing partner Paciolan, which, with enhanced technology infrastructure, will lead to $100 million in revenue generation over the term of the deal. In addition, Mitchell assisted in the planning and development of $7.5 million in facility upgrades at Southern Miss, including a new 18,000 square foot student-athlete academic center, a new synthetic turf baseball field and state-of-the-art LED lighting system, a new basketball court re-design and state-of-the art LED lighting system, and enhancements to the baseball locker room, the M-Club lounge and kitchen, and the athletics administration building.
For the Golden Eagles, Mitchell served as the sport administrator for men’s basketball and baseball in addition to serving as the administrator for football scheduling. During Mitchell’s tenure at Southern Miss, baseball advanced to three NCAA regional appearances (‘19, ‘21, ‘22) and one super regional appearance (‘22) while men’s basketball played in the CBI postseason tournament in 2019 and the NIT in 2022. Football participated in the Armed Forces Bowl following the 2019 season and won the 2022 LendingTree Bowl.
Mitchell served as the interim Director of Athletics for six months during the 2018-19 academic year in which the Golden Eagles posted their most competitive athletics season in more than a decade, as all team sports registered winning seasons and baseball captured its fourth consecutive conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In addition to the men’s basketball appearance in the CBI, the football team qualified for bowl selection and women’s basketball saw action in the postseason with an appearance in the WBI. During Mitchell’s Southern Miss tenure, the Golden Eagles claimed seven conference championships and appeared in seven postseason tournaments.
Mitchell joined Southern Miss after a twelve-year stint at Santa Clara University. From December 2014 to August 2018, Mitchell served as Senior Associate Athletic Director and managed the daily operations of the Santa Clara athletics department with a directed focus on external operations and revenue generation and included service as the Broncos’ interim Director of Athletics from April 2015 to August 2015. From October 2006 to November 2014, Mitchell oversaw compliance, student services, and legal affairs at Santa Clara. During the 2010-2011 academic year, Mitchell guided the University through a successful NCAA re-certification process.
As the Broncos’ chief financial officer from 2014 to 2018, Mitchell led the department to three consecutive years of record financial growth with year-over-year increases in operating budgets and in revenue generation (2016-2018). Mitchell negotiated multimillion dollar deals with The Aspire Group to grow the department’s ticketing and revenue generation efforts and with Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment to develop a comprehensive corporate sponsorship and multimedia rights program valued at $5 million. Mitchell helped finalize the University’s first comprehensive apparel deal with Nike valued at more than $2.5 million and helped administer plans for $58 million in facility projects to include a new soccer facility, softball stadium, aquatics center, and upgrades to basketball locker rooms and a basketball court re-design. Before his departure from Santa Clara, Mitchell also assisted in the development of the Broncos’ new $38 million Athletics Excellence Center, which opened in the Fall of 2020.
Mitchell served as the sport administrator for the Bronco men’s basketball and baseball programs. Mitchell was a member of the WCC basketball cabinet and served a three-year term on the NCAA Division I Baseball Regional Advisory Committee for the West Region (2015-2017). During his time at Santa Clara, the Broncos secured 22 team NCAA tournament bids, 11 individual NCAA postseason invitations across eight different sports, and 7 WCC championships. The Broncos also claimed two postseason tournament titles in men’s basketball in 2011 (CIT) and 2013 (CBI).
Mitchell’s work is recognized nationally as a co-author of a textbook entitled Sport, Ethics and Leadership, which was published in July of 2017. Mitchell was selected as one of twelve senior-level administrators from across the country to participate in the prestigious NCAA Pathway Program for the 2021-22 cohort. The year-long, experiential learning program is designed to elevate current senior-level administrators to the next step in reaching their goal of becoming directors of athletics or conference commissioners. Other national honors for Mitchell include his participation in the LEAD 1 Institute (2019), which identifies and educates top NCAA FBS administrators, and participation in the inaugural TopConnect Leadership Institute (2021), which pairs leading Division I administrators and assistant basketball coaches in a 12-week leadership forum culminating in a leadership certificate presented by East Tennessee State University.
Mitchell is a member of the Mississippi Bar Association and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. He served as an adjunct professor for undergraduate and graduate classes in the Southern Miss School of Business and Economic Development, teaching classes on leadership and governance and policy in sport. Mitchell also has served as a guest lecturer on the NCAA and intercollegiate athletics for the Sports Law class at the Santa Clara University School of Law and has been a panelist at multiple Sports Law forums.
As an accomplished public address announcer for 20 years, Mitchell has announced Division I baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and volleyball in the SEC, PAC-12, CUSA, WCC, Division III football and basketball in the SCAC, and Division III NCAA Tournament basketball.
Mitchell is a 2001 graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was a four-year member of the varsity baseball team and a four-year member of the athletic department’s sports information staff. After graduation, Mitchell began his professional career as the Director of Sports Information at Millsaps and served as an assistant coach for the 2003 Millsaps baseball team, which advanced to the NCAA Division III South Regional Tournament. Mitchell also earned an MBA from the Millsaps College Else School of Management in May of 2003 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in December of 2005. While at Ole Miss, Mitchell served as a graduate assistant in the external relations unit and worked with the Ole Miss football and men’s basketball programs.
Mitchell and his wife, April, are college sweethearts. April is the Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Dasera, a cybersecurity startup. Their daughter, Harper Wynne, enjoys playing soccer in the Girls Academy League, dance, and school. Their son, Carson, enjoys playing baseball and basketball.