Adding another feather to what is already a full cap, Fred Mitchell (pictured middle), Wittenberg class of 1969, received the Alumni Association’s most prestigious recognition, the Class of 1914 Award, during the university’s annual Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 7-9. The award is given to individuals who have served Wittenberg above and beyond what might be expected of any contributor to the college’s welfare.
Mitchell, currently an adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, has had an illustrious career as a sportswriter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune for more than 40 years covering the Chicago Bears, Cubs and Bulls. He has written 11 sports books and routinely appears on local and national TV and radio.
“I am very excited and humbled to receive this award,” said Mitchell, who also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wittenberg in May of 2000 after delivering the keynote address at Commencement. “I always wanted to be involved in athletics, whether as a player, coach or writer. I was able to experience all three phases of my dream, and I have savored every opportunity.”
While attending Wittenberg, Mitchell was a member of student newspaper, The Torch, staff, the Pi Delta Epsilon Journalism Honorary Society and Concerned Black Students. He also excelled on both the football and track teams, which earned him a place in Wittenberg’s Athletics Hall of Honor. Despite traveling all over the country, he has stayed actively involved with Wittenberg by serving on the Alumni Board for nine years and now on the Wittenberg Board of Directors for the last eight years. He was named a Wittenberg Fellow in 2000.
“I wrote columns for much of my last 20 years at the paper,” he said. “During my career, I also covered 14 Super Bowls, eight World Series, 10 NBA Finals, several college football bowl games, and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia,” said Mitchell, who became a member of the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame in 2013 and has an award named after him. The Fred Mitchell Award is given annually to the best college kicker among 750 non-FBS colleges by the National Football Foundation.
Mitchell is also on the board of Metropolitan Family Services in Chicago and won the Who's Who in Chicagoland award from Muscular Dystrophy Association in 1999.
Prior to working for the Chicago Tribune, Mitchell taught English and coached football, track and wrestling at Grove City High School in Ohio for five years.