MITCHELL, FRED B.
MITCHELL, FRED B.
May 7, 2023
Merit - Sportswriter
Mitchell, a three-sport athlete (football, track and baseball), kicked three game-winning field goals for the Blue Raiders during an era when most high school coaches ran for extra point tries and rarely attempted field goals.
At Wittenberg, Mitchell earned four varsity letters in football and would go on to break numerous school and Ohio Athletic Conference records, as well as the NCAA record for career points scored by kicking. In 1968, Mitchell was named to the Lutheran College All-American Team.
In 2015, Fred was presented the Ring Lardner Award by the Chicago Union League Club for outstanding sports journalism. He was inducted into the Wittenberg University Hall of Honor in 1995, the American Footballl Association Semi-Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999, and the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame in 2013. As a journalist, he was honored with the Bill Gleason Outstanding Sportswriter of the Year award by the Pitch & Hit Club (2010), the Irv Kupcinet Media Award (2010) and the Gale Sayers Foundation "Outstanding Journalist Award" in 2015. Since 2009, The National Football Foundation annually gives the "Fred Mitchell Award" to the nation's most outstanding placekicker.
Mitchell later played semi-pro football with the Columbus bucks and the Chicago Heights Broncos. He is credited with presenting the idea of sideline kicking nets to Wilson Sporting Goods in 1975. In 1974, Fred was hired by the Chicago Tribune as their first African American sportswriter in the history of the iconic newspaper. He became an award-winning sportswriter and columnist during his 41-year Tribune career. Mitchell has written 12 books. From 2017-2020, he served as the Community Correspondent for the Chicago Blackhawks.