Orlando Mitjans, Jr. - 2013
Orlando Mitjans, Jr., returns for his third year as the Georgia Southern cornerbacks coach and brings with him a calm demeanor and penchant for teaching to the program.
Since arriving in Statesboro, he has already make an impact on the Eagles’ cornerbacks by helping mold Laron Scott, a free agent signee of the New Orleans Saints in 2012, into a two-time All-American and Southern Conference selection. Scott finished his career with nine career interceptions and set a single-season record in 2010 with six picks.
Scott’s 2010 record combined with the rest of the secondary helped formed the best Georgia Southern pass defense since 2001, when they ranked second in the FCS in 2010. The Eagles finished that season 11th in the nation under the tutelage of Mitjans.
The coaching veteran came to Georgia Southern from Tennessee State where he served as secondary coach. In 2009, the Tigers ranked as the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) leader in pass defense and finished second in the OVC in total defense. Former Tiger Anthony Levine debuted with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 after two seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Mitjans returned to Tennessee State after four years with other programs, including a year at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tenn., where he was the co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. The opportunity at Montgomery Bell Academy cut short his stay at Florida A&M where he was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach during spring ball. Secondary coach at Eastern Kentucky from March of 2006 through February 2008, Mitjans helped mold a defense that produced an All-American and five All-Conference players. His secondary corps had 24 interceptions in 2007, and was the top-ranked pass defense in the OVC in 2007. The Colonels went on to win the OVC championship that year and three of his four starters were named to the OVC All-Conference team, including Derrick Huff. Huff was selected as the league’s defensive player of the year and earned first-team All-America honors.
In his first stop at Tennessee State, Mitjans was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator with the Tigers in 2005. He coached the secondary where Tennessee State led the OVC in pass defense and total defense that season. At Towson University Mitjans started as the Tigers running backs coach in 1999. He took over the secondary in 2001, and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2004. Mitjans coached two All-Conference tailbacks, Noah Read, who led the Patriot League in rushing, and Jason Corle, the Tigers all-time leading rusher, then helped produce two All-Conference secondary players. In 2002, five of his defensive players earned all-league honors.
With a league-leading 21 interceptions in 2003, the Towson secondary set a school record with four returned for touchdowns. The season before, one of Mitjan’s senior safeties finished the 2002 season ranked ninth nationally in interceptions.
Mitjans served as secondary coach at Kent State University (1994) and at C.W. Post College (1996) before accepting a similar position at Morgan State in January of 1997. As secondary coach, Mitjans helped his players record 28 takeaways and with five earning All-Conference honors. The following season Mitjans took the defensive coordinator’s role and improved Morgan State’s performance to a number-15 ranking in the Football Championship Subdivision. Three players he recruited went on to play professional football.
Following his playing career, Mitjans spent two seasons as a student assistant coach at Northeastern University. He landed his first full-time coaching job at Cheyney University when he coached the secondary and coordinated special teams.
Mitjans was selected to participate in the NFL’s minority internship program and had the opportunity to work with secondary coaches and players from NFL teams in Kansas City (2001), St. Louis (1999, 2000) and New York Jets (1994). In 2006, he was chosen as one of 20 coaches nationwide to attend the NCAA Expert Coaching Academy to prepare individuals for head coaching roles.
Through his career, Mitjans has been responsible for the recruitment of several players who have gone to the NFL, including Jermon Bushrod of the New Orleans Saints (Towson), Antwan Molden of the Houston Texans (Eastern Kentucky), the Arizona Cardinals’ Dominique Rodgers Cromartie (Tennessee State), Vishante Shiancoe of the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings (Morgan State), and Jim O’Neil (Towson) who is currently the defensive quality control coach for the New York Jets. Former Tennessee State free safety Anthony Levine signed with the Green Bay Packers this past spring.
A safety on Lou Holtz’s Razorback teams from 1978-80, Mitjans transferred to Northeastern and played for the Huskies for his final two years. He graduated from Northeastern in 1982 with a degree in leadership.
Mitjans and his wife, Claire, reside in Statesboro.