Brian Mitchell

BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech dismissed running backs coach Zohn Burden and defensive backs coach Brian Mitchell on Sunday. 

Burden and Mitchell were informed of the news on Sunday morning and will not coach in the bowl, a person familiar with the situation confirmed for The Roanoke Times. 

Burden was hired as Tech's wide receivers coach in 2015 and moved over to coach the running backs when coach Justin Fuente was hired in 2016. The VMI alum spent his entire 14-year coaching career within the state of Virginia with stops Fork Union, Old Dominion and Richmond. 

Tech didn't have a 1,000-yard rusher under Burden and never finished better than fifth in the ACC during his tenure in rushing offense.

As the Hokies rattled off six wins in seven games this season, they rushed for more than 220 yards four times, but the team's 3.89 yards per carry was ranked No. 93 in FBS (out of 130 teams). 

Fuente hired Mitchell from West Virginia in 2016 to coach Tech's defensive backs. The longtime assistant had more than two decades of FBS experience coaching defensive backs, which also includes lengthy stints at Texas Tech and BYU.

Tech's defense posted the fifth-lowest completion percentage in the country in Mitchell's first season (50.1) and ranked 10th in opponent passer rating (111.1). 

The numbers haven't been nearly as good since he coached Greg Stroman (2017) and Caleb Farley (2019) to first-team All-ACC honors. Farley had a breakout season leading the ACC with 16 passes defended. Fellow defensive back Jermaine Waller also had a strong season and earned an All-ACC honorable mention. 

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Load comments