Augusta, GA (January 10, 2013) - Prokicker.com and the Augusta Sports Council will induct three outstanding kickers and punters into the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame on January 17, 2013.
The 2013 inductees include Fred Mitchell, Dr. Stephen O’Neal and Reggie Roby. They will be honored during the All-Area Football Banquet presented by the Augusta Sports Council and The Augusta Chronicle, on January 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm in Augusta, Georgia. Also honored during the banquet will be 2012 Ray Guy Award winner Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech and members of The Augusta Chronicle’s 2012 All-Area Football Teams.
“These men epitomize what the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame is all about,” says Rick Sang, executive director of ProKicker.com. “Their contributions have impacted the game tremendously and with their induction, they will continue to do so for years to come.”
The American Football Kicking Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to recognize the individuals who excelled as kickers, to educate the public on the historic contributions of the kicking game, promote the advancement of kickers as strategic playmakers, and provide an arena to honor the players who put the “special” in special teams. The Hall of Fame features two categories – athletes and contributors. Contributors can be a coach or any other individual who has greatly contributed to the success of kicking in American football.
2013 American Football Kicking Hall of Fame Inductees
A published author, Chicago Tribune sports columnist, philanthropist, inventor, and namesake of the Fred Mitchell Award are just a handful of accomplishments to describe the range of Fred Mitchell’s contribution to the world of writing and sports.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mitchell grew up in Gary, Indiana. While attending Tolleston High School he earned letters in baseball, track and football and graduated with honors at the age of 16. From there he attended Wittenberg University in Ohio where he became the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker. At Wittenberg University, Mitchell lettered in football and track and was named to the Lutheran College All-America team in 1968 after setting the NCAA College Division record for career kick scoring. He was inducted into Wittenberg’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.
After college, Mitchell coached and taught English at Grove City High School and also played semi-pro football in Columbus and Chicago Heights. Mitchell joined the Chicago Tribune in 1974 as a beat writer covering the Cubs, Bulls and Bears, becoming the only reporter in Tribune history to handle the three major sports as a main assignment.
Named in his honor, “The Fred Mitchell Award” is an annual national award that is given to an outstanding kicker during the National Football Foundation ceremony. The award recognizes excellence on the football field, as well as community service.
Mitchell lives in Chicago with his wife, Kim, and son, Cameron.
Dr. Stephen O’Neal
In 1966 Stephen O’Neal accepted a track scholarship to Texas A&M, only to discover that he also had a talent for punting a football. During college he lettered in both football and track, and became a first-team All-American as a punter.
After college he was drafted by the 1969 New York Jets where he ended up making NFL history. During his second ever professional game, O’Neal lined up deep in his own end zone and made the longest possible punt in football, 98 yards, a record that still stands today. O’Neal played for the Jets for a total of four years and later played for New Orleans.
During his 6th year in the NFL, his career ended due to a tore cartilage in his knee. Needing only ten weeks to graduate from dental school, O’Neal decided to continue his education and graduated from the University of Tennessee Dental School 1974.
Today, Dr. O’Neal is a fulltime dentist in Bryan, Texas and a lifelong Aggie. He and Judy, his wife of 37 years, have two daughters.
Reginald “Reggie” Roby (1961-2005) excelled in both football and baseball while growing up in Waterloo, Iowa. He played both sports while attending Waterloo East High School and was later drafted by the Cincinnati Reds as a pitcher but instead he chose to attend the University of Iowa and play football where he would later become an All-American punter. In 1981, Roby set a record for average punting distance with 49.8 yards, helping lead Iowa to its first winning season in 20 years, and a share of the Big Ten Championship.
After college, Roby was a sixth-round pick in 1983 by the Miami Dolphins, where he played until 1992. During the 1980’s he was selected as punter for the NFL’s All-Decade Team and attended 3 Pro Bowls. After playing for the Miami Dolphins, Roby continued his career with the Washington Redskins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was with the Oilers for their final season in Houston and their first in Tennessee, and then wrapped up his career in 1999 in San Francisco.
Before his death in 2005, Roby was the marketing development director for Backfield in Motion, a non-profit organization that combines athletics and academics to inspire inner-city boys to reach their maximum potential and become significant contributors to society.