Brother Rice High School to Rename Football Field After Late, Legendary Coach Tom Mitchell
Brother Rice High School will officially dedicate "Coach Tom Mitchell Field" before the Crusaders' take on Mt. Carmel this Friday, Sept. 30
CHICAGO, IL -- To anyone familiar with Brother Rice High School, Tom Mitchell was a coach, teacher, mentor, counselor and friend. Mitchell,who passed away at age 72 in 2013, was the Crusaders’ head football coach from 1967 to 1993, and left a lasting impact on his players, students and colleagues.
This Friday, Sept. 30, Brother Rice will honor the late coach’s amazing legacy by officially renaming the football field “Coach Tom Mitchell Field” at Gary Little Stadium, 10001 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago. The dedication will take place prior to kickoff at 7:30 p.m., when Brother Rice takes on Mt. Carmel High School, which also happens to be the late coach’s high school alma mater.
A 1959 graduate of Mt. Carmel High School, Mitchell joined Brother Rice as the head football coach in 1967 at the tender age of 26. He served in that role until his retirement in 1993. His sons, Timothy and Thomas, Jr., are both 1983 graduates of Brother Rice.
During his career at Brother Rice, Mitchell coached 1,100 players. The coach led the Crusaders to the IHSA Class 6A State Championship in 1981, and was the Class 6A runner-up in 1985. He also laid claim to two Chicago Prep Bowl Championships in 1975 and 1980.
As head coach of the Crusaders, Mitchell posted at 170-95 record, but the numbers in the win-loss column were not as important to him as were the life lessons of sportsmanship, integrity and never giving up that he imparted to his players and coaches.
Oak Lawn resident and Brother Rice alumni Tom Phelan, who played under Mitchell from 1980 to 1984, recalled Mitchell as a humble and down-to-earth man, despite all of his coaching success.
“To the thousands of young men who attended Brother Rice when Tom Mitchell was there he was equal part father-figure, disciplinarian and equal part friend,” Phelan said. “He remembered students and players by first and last name, long after they left the classrooms and athletic fields at Brother Rice.”
Before Friday’s dedication, a reception will be held at 5 p.m. for all Crusader alumni, players, coaches and friends in the main entrance foyer. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Donna Eastman at 773-429-4340 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Coach Brian Badke at 773-429-4477 or email@example.com.