Avante Mitchell Named ONU’s 11th Head Football Coach

“It is an immense blessing to have the opportunity to lead the Olivet Nazarene University football team into its next chapter.”

Anyssa Hampton

January 19, 2024 Athletics

head football coach graphic

BOURBONNAIS, IL. – Avante Mitchell has been named the 11th head coach of the Olivet Nazarene University football program, ONU Interim Athletic Director Justin Glenn announced Thursday.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Coach Mitchell and his family to ONU,” said Glenn. “Throughout the search process, it became clear to us that coach Mitchell is the right person to lead our program and his emphasis on being great on and off the field will make him an incredible addition to the Olivet community. We are confident that the football program will reach new heights under his leadership.”

Mitchell, from Detroit, MI, brings over a decade of coaching experience to ONU. He comes to Olivet after a four-year stint as the head coach at Lawrence Tech University. He first served as the defensive coordinator for the Blue Devils during the 2019 season before being promoted to head coach in 2020.

“It is an immense blessing to have the opportunity to lead the Olivet Nazarene University football team into its next chapter, “ said Mitchell. “I am sincerely thankful to President Gregg Chenoweth, Jason Stephens, Justin Glenn, and Mike Conway, as well as the entire ONU Athletics staff, for entrusting me with the opportunity to lead ONU Football into the future.

“I also want to thank the Lord for the opportunity to continue my passion for ministry through sports, and I look forward to leading these young men on and off the field.”

Mitchell’s time at Lawrence Tech was highlighted by a 7-4 campaign in 2021, notching the program’s most wins in a single season since being reintroduced as an intercollegiate sport in 2017 after a 60-plus-year hiatus. That year’s team was led by a stellar special teams unit that ranked first in punt return average, second in punt return yards per game, and fifth in kick return average.

Before his tenure at LTU, Mitchell spent three seasons (2016-19) as the defensive backs coach at NCAA Division II Northwood University, where he coached six players to All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) honors. Prior to Northwood, Mitchell served as the defensive coordinator at Taylor University from 2013-16.

Under Mitchell’s tutelage, the Trojan defense ranked in the top 25 nationally in all major defensive statistical categories. as well as boasting the 11th, 18th and 6th ranked defenses in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively.

In 2014, Mitchell tutored defensive back Adam Sauder to a career year. Sauder was named an NAIA All-American, the MSFA-East Defensive Player of the Year, and was a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award as one of the nation’s best small college defensive players.

Mitchell’s 12-year coaching career began in 2011 at Concordia University-Ann Arbor, where he served as a secondary coach and recruiting coordinator for the Cardinals. One year later, he stepped into his first head coaching role, serving as CU’s interim head coach for the 2012 season.

Mitchell began his collegiate playing career at the University of Louisville before transferring to Wayne State University. He later graduated from the aforementioned Northwood University with a bachelor’s degree in management.

He and his wife Ebony have two adult children, a son Ahlon and a daughter Ahvon.

Mitchell Timeline

January 2024-present Olivet Nazarene University Head Coach
February 2020-December 2023 Lawrence Technological University Head Coach
December 2019-February 2020 Lawrence Technological University Interim Head Coach
July 2019-December 2019 Lawrence Technological University Defensive Coordinator
2016-2019 Northwood University Secondary Coach
2013-2016 Taylor University Defensive Coordinator
2012 Concordia University – Ann Arbor Interim Head Coach
2011 Concordia University – Ann Arbor Linebackers


For more information about the athletics program, contact Evan Wild, Sports Information Director, ewwild@olivet.edu.

To view all Tiger Athletics news, click here.

— Republished 1/19/2024 —

Anyssa Hampton

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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