CHICAGO - Saint Xavier University junior place-kicker Tom Lynch (Frankfort, Ill./Southern Illinois University/Joliet JC/Lincoln-Way East) is the recipient of the 2010 Fred Mitchell Award. The Award is provided to the nation's top place-kicker in FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA for excellence on the football field and in the community. Over 600 place-kickers are eligible for the Award.
The Award is named for Fred Mitchell, the All-American place-kicker from Wittenberg University and longtime sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Mitchell said, "I am pleased to congratulate Tom Lynch as the recipient of the 2010 Fred Mitchell Award. It is significant to note that Lynch's field goal percentage (13 of 15 for .866), extra point total (82) and total points (121) stack up very well to the equally impressive numbers of this year's Lou Groza Award winner, Dan Bailey (.857, 65 and 137) of FBS school Oklahoma State, who is that school's all-time leading scorer after his record-breaking season. Lynch also averaged 60 yards on his kickoffs and had 11 touchbacks for Saint Xavier University. I am equally proud of Lynch's sincere commitment to school and community service, which helps set him apart from an incredibly strong field of finalists in the eyes of our Selection Committee."
"Winning this award leaves me at a complete loss for words", Lynch said. "Just being one of the 10 national finalists felt like such a great accomplishment. I truly feel that I owe all my successes to the Lord. Without Him in my life, I don't think I would have any of the successes I currently have." Lynch participates in the school's annual service day where students do community service projects, he volunteers at the Emergency Management Association at the Department of Homeland Security, he is a volunteer at a local PADS homeless shelter, he is a place-kicker tutor at his high school alma mater (Lincoln Way-East) and he volunteers at the South Bridge Community Church summer day camp where he also provides complimentary maintenance and lawn care services.
Head coach Mike Feminis added, "The Fred Mitchell Award is a tremendous honor and Tom is very deserving. He had an incredible year and I have no doubt that he could be kicking at a ton of NCAA schools. We're fortunate to have him at Saint Xavier University and I'm just glad we have him for another year." The Cougars were 11-0 in the regular season and consistently ranked in the top three among all NAIA teams, and they finished the season 13-1.
The Award's Selection Committee Chairman, Chris Kearney, said, "There were dozens of terrific candidates for this Award. In fact, 52 place-kickers were nominated by their schools for consideration. Tom was on the Award's Watch List in August and we recognized him during the season for stellar performance. The voting results were extremely close this year, and we are looking forward to honoring Tom on February 21, 2011 at Halas Hall during the National Football Foundation Chicago Metro Chapter Awards Ceremony." Details for the Awards Ceremony are at www.nffchicagoawards.eventbrite.com.
A blue-ribbon Selection Committee evaluates place-kickers that are nominated by their schools. Members of the Pro and/or College Football Hall of Fame on the Selection Committee include Tom Beck, Kevin Butler, Paul Hornung, Marv Levy, Steve McMichael, Don Pierson and Gale Sayers. Several former football players that are active in their communities are also on the Selection Committee including Sean Gothier, Dan Jiggetts, Rick Kolaczewski, Jeff Michalczyk, Mark Murphy, Rob Perry, Jeff Schebler, Jay Sebben, Bob Thomas, Todd Wilkins, Gary Zauner and Rob Zvonar. There are nine former college or NFL place-kickers on the Selection Committee, including Schebler, the 2009 Fred Mitchell Award recipient and the highest-scoring place-kicker in NCAA history at any level.