OGDENSBURG, N.Y. – Bill Mitchell has been a varsity wrestling coach at Ogdensburg High School since 2001. He is also a Supervisory Customs and Border Protection officer at the Ogdensburg port of entry.
SCBPO Mitchell decided to help coach wrestling in 1999 for the Ogdensburg City School District where he established a Pee Wee Wrestling program. He later became the varsity wrestling coach in 2001. According to Ogdensburg City School Superintendent Tim Vernsey, "Bill Mitchell has been instrumental in developing the school’s wrestling program into a winning program. The wrestling program has produced student athletes that are able to compete on a state level, a result of Bill's mentorship.”
This year, one of Mitchell's top senior wrestlers, Tanner LaPiene, competed in the New York State high school wrestling championship matches. Tanner went all the way to the finals, losing one of the last matches in a tight 4-3 decision. SCBPO Mitchell could not be prouder of LaPeien's achievements.
Mitchell started coaching Tanner in the seventh grade, seeing the young wrestler grow and develop into the all-time "winningest" wrestler in OFA history. “Tanner’s got an excellent work ethic, dedicated and committed to everything he does, academic and athletic. He carries a 95-plus grade average, and will do very well wherever he goes," Mitchell said. Tanner LaPiene is currently being recruited by several NCAA Division I wrestling programs and plans to pursue a degree in physical therapy.
The respect between Tanner and his coach is mutual. Tanner LaPiene describes Coach Mitchell as “a quiet and well respected leader who makes good decisions.” When asked if his coach was tough and demanding, LaPiene said, “he expects the work to be done - when he says something one time, you do it.”
SCBPO Mitchell’s federal civilian career began in 1987 when he was hired as a supply officer, becoming a customs inspector two years later at Ogdensburg Port of Entry. He quickly earned the reputation of being a “digger,” frequently breaking out a screw driver to search for illicit drugs and contraband. Mitchell transferred to the Alexandria Bay Port of Entry in 2001, and was promoted from senior customs inspector to supervisor. He transferred back to Ogdensburg as a supervisor in 2003.
His ability to coach is evident in his ability to lead officers at the port.
"He has an uncanny ability to teach others, and is a natural leader” said Port Director Tom Trimboli. “His leadership and professionalism at CBP are a direct reflection of the successful approach he takes to coaching.”
All traits that make SCBPO Mitchell a great coach, leader, mentor and protector of our nation’s borders.
“I believe in leadership by example. If you can do more than your peers, then it gives your people an incentive to keep up with you,” Mitchell said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.