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Stump Mitchell
Running Backs
The Citadel
Kingsland, CA


A standout running back and return specialist for nine seasons with the Cardinals (1981-89), Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell enters his fourth season in charge of Arizona’s running backs and 15th overall as an NFL assistant after joining the coaching staff on 2/5/13.

A standout running back and return specialist for nine seasons with the Cardinals (1981-89), Lyvonia “Stump” Mitchell enters his fourth season in charge of Arizona’s running backs and 15th overall as an NFL assistant after joining the coaching staff on 2/5/13.

Last season, the Cardinals vastly improved rushing attack helped propel the team to a franchise record 13 wins as Arizona finished with the top ranked offense in the NFL for the first time in team history. The Cardinals finished the 2015 season with the NFL’s 8th ranked rushing attack, averaging 119.8 yards per game. It marked the first time since 1984 (9th overall) that the Cardinals finished a season ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing. Rookie running back David Johnson amassed 1,636 all-purpose yards (581 rushing, 457 receiving, 598 KOR) and a franchise rookie record 13 TDs, becoming just the fourth player in NFL history to have 500+ rushing yards, 400+ receiving yards, 500+ kickoff returns yards and 13+ TDs in a season. Fellow running back Chris Johnson was the NFL’s third-leading rusher with 814 rushing yards in the first 11 games before an injury ended his season. Arizona’s performance in the run game last season (1,917 yards and 16 TDs) helped the team establish single-season records for points (489), TDs (59) and total net yards (6,533).

In 2013, Mitchell helped coach a group of Cardinals running backs that featured rookie Andre Ellington, who totaled 1,023 scrimmage yards (652 rushing, 371 receiving). His 5.53-yard rushing average led all NFL players with a minimum of 100 rushing attempts and was the highest average for any rookie in team history and the highest for a Cardinals running back since John David Crow (5.85) in 1960. Combined with veteran Rashard Mendenhall (687 yards and eight TDs), the 2013 season marked the first time since 1988 that the Cardinals had two players with 600+ rushing yards in a season.

Mitchell joined the Cardinals in 2013 after working as the head coach at Southern from 2010-12, before being re-assigned within the program following a 0-2 start to the ’12 season. Prior to his tenure at Southern, Mitchell spent two seasons as the running backs coach and assistant head coach for the Washington Redskins (2008-09). During his first season with the Redskins, he oversaw the NFL’s eighth-ranked rushing attack and Clinton Portis, who was selected to the Pro Bowl that season, had 1,487 yards, which at the time was the second-highest single season total in franchise history. He also tutored FB Mike Sellers who joined Portis in the Pro Bowl in 2008.

He began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and worked nine years as the running backs coach for the Seahawks under head coach Mike Holmgren. Mitchell coached a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his first seven seasons with Seattle (Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander). Under his tutelage, Alexander was a three-time Pro Bowler and was named 2005 NFL MVP after leading the NFL with a franchise-record 1,880 rushing yards and setting a then-NFL record with 28 TDs (NFL-record 27 rushing TDs, 1 receiving TD). In 2004, Alexander led the NFC with 1,696 rushing yards and 20 TDs. During the 2003 season, Alexander made his first career Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,435 yards, and in 2002, he had 16 rushing TDs. Alexander’s backfield teammate, fullback Mack Strong, was also voted to the Pro Bowl in 2005 and 2006 under Mitchell’s guidance.

Mitchell joined the Seahawks following three years as head coach of Morgan State University (1996-98). He originally joined the MSU staff in 1995 as offensive coordinator before being promoted the following year. Under Mitchell's tutelage, the Bears had a rushing attack that averaged 148.9 yards per game in 1997.

A ninth-round selection (226th overall) by the Cardinals in the 1981 NFL Draft, Mitchell spent his entire nine-year NFL career with the Cardinals. He currently holds the franchise record with 11,988 all-purpose yards and ranks second all-time in rushing yards (4,649), punt return yards (1,377) and kickoff return yards (4,007) while also adding 1,955 career receiving yards. Mitchell’s 42 career TDs are tied for the 10th best total in team annals. Mitchell had 14 100-yard rushing games in his career and finished with a 4.7-yard rushing average, which ranks as the second-highest career mark in team history. He had a 5.6-yard rushing average in 1981 (31 for 175 yards), earning All-Rookie honors from Pro Football Weekly, who also named him All-NFC as a kickoff returner in 1984.

In addition to his success on the field, Mitchell was honored with the Chuck Drulis Award in 1982 and the Byron “Whizzer” White Humanitarian Award in 1984 for his work in the community.

Mitchell’s coaching career began in the spring of 1991 when he served as running backs coach for the San Antonio Rough Riders of the World League of American Football (WLAF). He then was the head coach at Casa Grande (AZ) High School (1991-94) where he led the team to the state playoffs in his second season.


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Recent Videos

  • Zoom - Stump Mitchell comes full circle with Cards

    Posted Nov 16, 2013

    Zoom into the story of Cardinals legend Stump Mitchell who has returned to the team that drafted him in 1981. Mitchell currently serves as RB's coach for the Cardinals.

  • Stump Mitchell Highlights

    Posted Apr 16, 2013

    Former Cardinals great Stump Mitchell returns to the team to coach running backs under new head coach Bruce Arians. Check out some highlights from his playing days.