KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Jeff Mittie won his milestone 300th game at TCU this season by beating Kansas State.
Now, he’ll try to help the Wildcats beat the Horned Frogs.
Kansas State made the rare move of luring a head coach away from a conference rival on Tuesday, hiring Mittie to become its new women’s basketball coach. He replaces Deb Patterson, who was fired after 18 seasons that included nine NCAA tournament appearances.
Mittie resigned from the Horned Frogs, where he had spent the past 15 seasons, and agreed to a five-year contract with Kansas State that will pay $375,000 the first year with $25,000 increases each remaining year. He will also receive a $140,000 signing bonus.
“This was the youngest team in the Big 12 this year, so I’m excited to work with the players,” Mittie said. “I’m always excited about developing a team and that challenge. I think Kansas State and my family will be a really great fit.”
The parting of ways with the TCU appears to have been amicable, and it was about more than just the job. Mittie was raised in the Kansas City area, and his wife, Shanna, was born in Junction City, which is just a short drive from the Kansas State campus in Manhattan.
In essence, Mittie was making the decision to come home, even if it means he’ll be coaching against many of the players he recruited to TCU when the teams face each other next season.
“We can’t thank Jeff enough for the contributions he’s made to TCU and our women’s basketball program over the last 15 years,” athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “This was not a decision about TCU. This was a decision for Jeff on being able to go home and be closer to family.”
Mittie got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Missouri Western, before spending four wildly successful seasons at Arkansas State. He went on to TCU, a program that had a record of 208-402 and turning it into a consistent winner that went to nine NCAA tournaments.
Mittie had a record of 303-175 with the Horned Frogs, leading them to 13 winning seasons in the past 14 years. TCU went 18-14 this year and earned a berth in the WNIT, where associate head coach Brian Ostermann will lead the Horned Frogs in their game Wednesday night at Colorado.
“I’m looking forward to getting recruiting started across the state of Kansas,” Mittie said, “and developing those very important relationships.”
The Wildcats were a perennial powerhouse under Patterson from 2002-09, making the postseason every year and winning or sharing two Big 12 titles. But poor recruiting injuries to key players the last few years has caused the program to slip, and with it attendance and interest.
That was enough for Kansas State athletic director John Currie to relieve Patterson of her duties. Patterson had a record of 350-226 at Kansas State, not far off Mittie’s mark at TCU.
“We set out to find the very best basketball coach for K-State, whose personal values and integrity reflects those of our university and one that appreciates the unique opportunity of being part of our strong basketball tradition and commitment to championship performances,” Currie said in a statement, “and we are confident that Jeff Mittie is that person.”
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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