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Burrell-Slater gymnasium to be named in memory of former head coach

Burrell-Slater Community Education Center

FLORENCE, Ala. — The gymnasium at the Burrell-Slater Community Education Center in Florence will soon have a new name. On the site of what was once Florence's only Black high school, Burrell-Slater High School, the gym will receive the namesake of one of Florence City Schools' most influential coaches of the 20th century, Harvest Mitchell.

Mitchell was with the district for 35 years, coaching different sports and teaching physical education and health classes. The Florence City Board of Education's decision to name the gym after Coach Mitchell is credited to his impact at Burrell-Slater High, where he served as head coach and, at times, the only coach for football, basketball, and track.

Coach Mitchell's influence even extended to the current leadership of Florence City Schools, as Superintendent Dr. Jimmy Shaw was his student during his time at Bradshaw High School.

"Coach Mitchell has been an education icon over many decades, many children, and over all races. He has had a lasting impact on this area and generations to come," Dr. Shaw said.

The dedication ceremony will occur on Friday, November 10, 2023, at 11 a.m. The Burrell-Slater Community Education Center is located at 610 West College Street.

By Jeremy Jackson
November 1, 2023