Well after two failures early on in my collecting return- ten years later I finally square away Stump Mitchell. Stump holds a special place in my heart due to his association with the San Antonio Riders and the WLAF.
Cards: ProSet 1989, Topps 1990
Acquired: In Person 1992, San Antonio Riders
Failure: TTM 2011, C/o Southern University
Stump Mitchell was drafted out of the Citadel by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 9th round of the 1981 draft. A slashing runner with nice hands, he’d be a great bargain and compliment to incumbent runningback Ottis Anderson also getting in time on kick and punt returns. Stump’s best year would be in 1986 when he’d have 1006 yards rushing and 502 yards receiving for St. Louis and 1950 yards from scrimmage. His 5.5 yard average would lead the NFL. Mitchell in the end, would play his entire career with the Cards racking up almost 12,000 yards from scrimmage before retiring from a bum knee after 1989.
In 1992 while attending San Antonio Riders games I would always get the program and saw that one of the assistant coaches was Mitchell. Eventually I found that I had a few of his cards in my collection and was able to get him to autograph these two cards. Right after the season ended I got a few more cards to have him autograph but the league folded and I was never able to do so. The ProSet 1989 is one of the best looking cards from that set, but I suspect due to his name it was not a profiled feature picture on the box.
He was owner of the failed WIFL’s St. Louis Lightning and had Mouse Davis in place as his coach before the league quickly imploded. Stump would then return to high school and the college ranks before coaching the Seattle Seahawks runningbacks from 1999-2007. He’d spend 2008 and 2009 with the Redskins before going to Southern University where he at this time he remains the head coach (as of 2011). Along with Mike Johnson, Stump is considered a member of the Mike Riley tree.
I sent off for Stump’s autograph earlier this year in January to get those final cards signed but it came back return to sender. I turned around and sent it care of Southern University back in February, but as of this post I am still waiting on a reply.
Card: ProSet 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991, ProSet WLAF 1991 Helmet card
Acquired: TTM 1992, C/o The New York-New Jersey Knights, TTM 2011, C/o The University of Hawaii Warriors
Sent: 2/14/11 Received: 3/10/11 (24 days)
Mouse Davis is nothing short of an innovator and a career coach with an extensive offensive coaching tree full of acolytes at every stop. Considered of great importance to the evolution of the Run and Shoot offense(- a passing offense that employs four wide receiver sets, no tight ends and a single running back,) the offense itself is also treated as the forerunner to the modern day spread offense. At every stop from the high school level to the professional level, Davis’ offenses have lit up the scoreboard and set team and league records. In college Mouse coached tiny Portland State to explosive levels (guided by future NFL quarterback Neil Lomax and June Jones). Portland State would set 20 NCAA records, and Mouse would briefly make a stop at Berkley before going on to be offensive coordinator of the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL in 1982. In 1984 he’d move to the USFL and be offensive coordinator under coach Jack Pardee and the Houston Gamblers with Jim Kelly, Richard Johnson and Ricky Sanders. His ‘Mouseketeers’ would dominate the offensive scoreboard and Johnson and Sanders would be the first 100 reception tandem in football history on the same team. 1985 would see his first pro head coaching gig, guiding the Denver Gold to the playoffs before the league folded. Soon thereafter Davis was named head coach of the St. Louis Lightning of the WIFL, but the league disbanded before it even took the field. After the failure of the USFL and WIFL, Davis was head coach of the New York-New Jersey Knights of the WLAF where the team in its first season had the league’s leading rusher in Eric Wilkerson and made the playoffs. In one notable game in 1991 the team set a football record for most faked punts in a game, but also set the record for futility in special teams as well. In the 1992 season under Davis’ guidance, quarterback Reggie Slack was the number 2 rated passer in the league with a 6-4 record before it folded.
Mouse has made numerous pitstops in the NFL as well, most notably when he was an assistant with the Detroit Lions during the late 80s – early 90’s building the “Silver Stretch Offense” and also spent time with the Atlanta Falcons. He was influential with Jack Pardee who adopted the Run and Shoot from him utilizing it with both the Houston Cougars to epic proportions in the NCAA level, the Houston Oilers in the NFL, and the Birmingham Barracudas in the CFL.
Davis returned to the college ranks after his stints in the NFL and WLAF. He currently serves with the Hawaii Warriors as their wide recievers coach and was inducted into the Portland State HoF. I sent off for his autograph while he was coaching the Knights in 1992 and then just this year while he was with the Warriors and he responded in under 30 days. His WLAF statistics are below.
W 11 L 9 T 0 Pct .555
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.