Monday, July 8, 2013

Leland Noyal Mitchell

Leland Noyal Mitchell, 72, passed away on July 6, 2013 at his residence in Starkville, MS. He was a Real Estate Developer with real estate interests in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Carolyn Tranum Mitchell of Starkville, MS; daughter, Melanie Sparrow and husband, Colonel Will Sparrow of Montgomery, AL; sons, Leland (Mitch) Mitchell, Jr., David Mitchell, and Michael Mitchell, all of Starkville, MS; sister, Muriel Necaise; and brothers, Russell and Melvin Mitchell; three grandchildren, Mary, Annie, and Jack Sparrow.
Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, 2013 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Welch Funeral Home in Starkville, MS. Funeral services are scheduled forThursday, July 11, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. in the chapel of Welch Funeral Home. Rev. Bob Whiteside will conduct the service. Burial will be in Memorial Garden Park Cemetery.
All of his life, Leland was very involved in sports until his spinal cord injury in 2001.
He coached his three son's baseball teams from t-ball, Dixie youth, Dixie majors, and started the American Legion baseball team in this area where he was head coach. He coached the Starkville All-Star (13 and 14 yr old) Dizzy Dean Baseball team that his two sons played on. They went on to win the district, the State, and went on to the World Series in Myrtle Beach, Florida. They were runner-up World Series champions. Leland also played tennis and played in numerous tournaments.
Leland was inducted into the Mississippi State "M-Club" "Hall of Fame" and was recognized as a member of International "Who's Who".
Mitchell, a 6'4" guard, who played at Mississippi State University under Babe McCarthy during the early 1960's, was an All-Southeastern Conference honoree in 1963, a season in which Mississippi State lost to eventual champion Loyola University Chicago in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament. MSU's appearance in the tournament was controversial in their home state. To that point, MSU's all-white teams had only played against other all-white teams, but the NCAA Tournament was open to integrated teams. The school had to sneak out of town to reach the tournament, since an unwritten Mississippi law prevented racial integration on the basketball court. Mitchell later said, "We wanted to play. We had just won the SEC championship for the third year in a row and we hadn't been allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament the past two years. For us the biggest thing was getting the opportunity to play in the tournament because it was something we felt we deserved." He also noted, "It was much more than a basketball game. We were making history. We were ambassadors for the south, though none of us realized it at the time".
He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys to play football and also drafted by the St. Louis Hawks to play basketball. He spent the 1967-68 season in the American Basketball Association as a member of the New Orleans Buccaneers.
It was quoted that "Leland was one of the best basketball players ever produced by the State of Mississippi.
Memorial donations may be made to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, 636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 3A, Short Hills, NJ 07078, This foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury.
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