Kicking It Up A Notch National Award Named For Alumnus
Forty years after earning second-team Lutheran Brotherhood All-America honors as a kicker at Wittenberg, Fred Mitchell ’69 has seen his athletic career come full circle. Currently a successful columnist with the Chicago Tribune and a best-selling author, Mitchell has been honored with the creation of the Fred Mitchell Outstanding Place-Kicker Award.
The annual award goes to the nation’s top collegiate kicker among the approximately 150 NCAA Division II and 240 NCAA Division III football programs as selected by a blue-ribbon committee. The winner will be announced at the annual National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards ceremony, and a college tuition scholarship will be presented to the recipient’s university.
“I am honored and humbled to have my name associated with this new national award, which annually will recognize excellence on the football field by kickers from non-BCS schools, as well as true commitment to community service,” said Mitchell, who previously served nine years on Wittenberg’s Alumni Board and has been a member of the university’s Board of Directors since 2008. “Plus, this is another opportunity for me to espouse the many virtues of Wittenberg University on a national basis as both a superior athletic and academic institution.”
Mitchell has written nine books, including Billy Williams: My Sweet-Swinging Lifetime With The Cubs, an autobiography he helped Williams write, and Sayers: My Life And Times, an autobiography of Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers, after a groundbreaking collegiate football career. Mitchell set an NCAA College Division record for career points by scoring, in addition to 12 school records and five Ohio Athletic Conference marks between 1965 and 1968. His school record of 106 career extra points held up for 30 years, while his record of 166 career points by kicking lasted for more than 20 years.
A 1995 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee, Mitchell has given back to his university in a variety of ways. In recent years , he has hosted students involved with Wittenberg’s Communication Leaders program when they visit Chicago, providing a tour of the Chicago Tribune offices, taking time to answer their questions and sharing professional insight.