Port Allen High School introduced former Southern Lab coach Nick Mitchell as its new head football coach during a Monday afternoon press conference held at the school.

Mitchell, who compiled a 31-23 record in four seasons as the SLHS coach, led the Kittens to a state runner-up finish in select Division IV last fall.

“There were certain things we were looking we were looking for in candidate,” Port Allen Principal James Jackson said. “We wanted someone who we felt could not only take our program to next level in football but who also would help our school go to that next level academically too.”

Jackson said there were 18 applicants for the job and noted that Mitchell and current Central High football coach Sid Edwards emerged as top candidates. Mitchell replaces Guy Blanchard, who resigned last month after compiling a 55-48 record in 10 seasons with the Class 3A Pelicans, including seven playoff appearances.

Livonia High assistant coach Mike Todd and General Trass coach Dwight Woods also were reportedly among the finalists. Todd was previously a head coach at two local schools, Tara High and Walker High.

“I did my heart good to see the applicants we received,” Jackson said. “There were people we didn’t interview who I think are good enough to be head coaches just about anywhere in Louisiana.”

Mitchell, a former Destrehan High and Southern University baseball player, resigned as head coach at Southern Lab earlier this year and was set to be the associate head coach at East St. John.

Prior to coming to Southern Lab, the 41-year-old Mitchell was an assistant coach for five years at East Ascension and three years at East St. John. Mitchell’s 2014 Southern Lab team started 1-5 and won seven straight games before losing to Ouachita Christian in the Division IV title game.