A fixture in the Wharton High athletic program since the school's inception, David Mitchell has made the rounds from coaching the wrestling team to instructing wide receivers for the football squad. In 2005, Mitchell took over the reins of the football team, and since then, winning has been a regular occurrence for the school.
In his six years at the helm, Mitchell has led the Wildcats to the playoffs twice. In 2011, the team has recorded its most successful campaign since 2008, with an overall record of 6-4, 2-1 in conference games.
The Wharton Wildcats' latest victory, a 44-21 defeat of the Alonso Ravens, has merited their head coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' High School Coach of the Week award for Week 10.
"I really appreciate the Buccaneers nominating me for Coach of the Week," Mitchell said. "Most things that have put me in this position and helped with my accomplishments are credit to my players' performance in the second half of the season."
With one matchup left to finish up the season, Mitchell and his team will go on the road to Spoto High School and seek to extend their current four-game winning streak with one last victory.
Just a day before the season finale, Mitchell and several of his players were invited as special guests to One Buccaneer Place. On Thursday, Mitchell brought along junior linebacker/fullback Rocky Enos, junior guard/linebacker Jacob Meier, junior defensive back/wide receiver/quarterback Veron Hargraves, senior running back Darius Page and senior defensive back John Tyler to visit the Buccaneers' training facility for a tour of the team's headquarters.
"I'm glad my players have a chance to see how the professionals are and all the work they put in," Mitchell said. "We all enjoyed the tour. It's an outstanding facility, and I can now see first-hand why it is one of the best in the NFL."
Along with a signed certificate, Buccaneers hat and personalized football presented by Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris, Lewis received a $1,000 donation to go towards Wharton's football program.
"The players look at [the Buccaneers], and they want to work harder and get to where these guys are," Mitchell said. "I always say, 'Dream big,' because one day they may be in this facility as well."
The Buccaneers are honoring 10 high school coaches from Central Florida during this year's prep football season. A Coach of the Year, who receives an additional $1,000 for his football program, will be selected from the 10 weekly winners at the end of the season. The Buccaneers and National Football League's Coach of the Week program aids in the development of youth football, which has a positive influence on young athletes and the communities in which they live.