Dennis Mitchell: Where is Sha’Carri Richardson’s Coach Now?

The Netflix documentary series, ‘Sprint: The World’s Fastest Humans,’ introduces us to a number of world-class sprinters involved in the contest for the men’s and women’s 100 and 200-meter World Champion titles. It also gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how they train and the teams involved in coaching them. Dennis Mitchell, the coach of Sha’Carri Richardson, particularly stood out among his peers for being incredibly supportive and emotionally invested in his pupil’s journeys. Mitchell went beyond his call of duty to emotionally galvanize Richardson before her 100m race, helping ease her nervousness. When she triumphed in her event, her coach’s voice rose above every other in celebration. Seeing the close bonds formed between Mitchell and his athletes rouses curiosity regarding his early days and current whereabouts.

Dennis Allen Mitchell Faced Doping Controversy as an Athlete

Hailing from Havelock, North Carolina, Mitchell first garnered attention in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, by placing fourth in the 100-meter event. In 1989, he represented the University of Florida and won the NCAA 200-meter title; he was eventually inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. By 1991, he helped the national team break the 4×100 m relay world record at Zürich, Switzerland and broke it once again at the World Championships in the same year.

The 1990s saw a number of personal successes for Mitchell in the 100m event. However, in 1998, he took a test that showed high levels of testosterone, leading to a suspension by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for two years. His final competitive appearance was in 2001 when the US team secured the gold at the 2001 World Championships 4x100m relay but was disqualified due to a teammate’s reported involvement in the BALCO scandal. Following his retirement from running track and field, Mitchell found a second calling in coaching. He coached with the Montverde Academy and became the USATF relay coach between 2014 and 2016. He eventually started Star Athletics, his own club, becoming its head coach.

Dennis Mitchell Won Coach of the Year

Following an immensely successful year for Star Athletics, Dennis Mitchell won the USATF Nike Coach of the Year by the end of 2023. Among his crowning accomplishments that secured the title was training Sha’Carri Richardson and guiding her into a breakthrough season in both the 100 and 200m. He was also recognized for coaching TeeTee Terry, who was pivotal in securing a gold in the 4x100m at Budapest, and for training Kenny Bednarek, which helped him finish as the final runner-up in the 200m at Eugene in the Diamond League. Sha’Carri Richardson herself ended up winning the 2023 Jackie Joyner-Kersee Female Athlete of the Year.

By the end of 2023, Dennis Mitchell was titled “The Architect of Comebacks” by Kenny Bednarek. Kenny is an Olympic athlete under Star Athletics who qualified for the Paris Olympics in the 100m as well as the 200m categories by finishing second behind Noah Lyles and breaking his personal best record. Sha’Carri Richardson qualified for the women’s 100m at the Olympics but did not make the team for the 200m as she finished in fourth place at the trials. The entire women’s 100m roster representing the country at the Paris Olympics is under the coaching of Mitchell. The trio includes Sha’Carri Richardson, Melissa Jefferson, and Twanisha Terry. Thus, the coach of the year has his hands full in the coming months as he trains multiple Olympics-bound athletes at Star Athletics.

Dennis Mitchell’s Family History is Steeped in Athletics

The Florida-based coach is married to Damu Cherry-Mitchell Oly, a former Olympic Athlete who now works alongside her husband as the Vice President of Star Athletics Track Club. Damu Cherry was a part of the 2009 Olympic team and secured fourth place in the hurdles final. The power couple often goes to events together while managing their club in harmony. They also have a young daughter who is the apple of their eye and already taking part in track and field at her school. While at an event held in Lake County, Florida, in late June 2024, Mitchell met up with rapper Snoop Dogg, who congratulated the coach and his Olympics-bound team.

Damu Cherry praised her husband’s achievements in 2023, taking to Facebook and writing, “I am truly proud of my husband being named USATF Nike coach of the year and Sha’Carri named Female athlete of the year and best performer… God will prepare a table for you. You just have to stay diligent and work.” The Mitchells took a well-deserved break on Father’s Day in June, having dinner with the family and relaxing before preparing for the pivotal days to come.

Read More: Lance Brauman: Where is Noah Lyles’ Coach Now?