The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame inducts DePaul professor, player

Will Robson
DePaul professor Fred Mitchell receives the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame Excellence in Media Award on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago. Mitchell was recognized for his outstanding career in sports journalism.

Three significant DePaul sports figures were inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday night at Wintrust Arena. They are now part of a community that includes legends like Muhammed Ali, Walter Payton and Dick Butkus.

Fred Mitchell, a DePaul sports journalism professor since 2017 who spent over 40 years as a sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune, was inducted to the hall with the Excellence in Media Award.

Mitchell’s career includes 12 books and six Hall of Fame inductions nationwide, including the Indiana Football Hall of Fame. He is the only sportswriter in Tribune history to have covered the Bears, Bulls and Cubs as the main beat reporter.

“To be recognized by other people who are renowned in Chicago sports means an awful lot,” Mitchell said. “In recent years, so many great luminaries in print media, broadcast media … to be listed among those is a privilege.”

Mitchell invited all his current students to the induction ceremony, allowing them to meet and connect with prominent Chicago sports figures.

“I felt especially honored that [Mitchell] wanted me as well as the rest of his class there to witness the ceremony,” said senior sports communication major and student in one of Mitchell’s classes James Stowell III. “I was happy that after 41 years of work for the Tribune, he was able to be recognized [by] a community of sports legends.”

Mitchell reflected on his career as a journalist, noting that young writers can be impatient and that it takes years of hard work to gain recognition in the industry.

“[In my] early years, I was working on a copy desk,” Mitchell said. “I worked all year from 10 o’clock at night to six in the morning, and I’m proud of the fact that I stuck it out.”

His students say he brings this knowledge and experience to the classroom but is also welcoming and supportive.

“Every class, [Mitchell] checks up on our well-being,” Stowell said. “He asks us what has been going on in our lives.”

Julianne Sitch, the all-time leading scorer for the DePaul women’s soccer program when she finished her collegiate career in 2005, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame Wednesday. 

Sitch became an assistant coach for the Chicago Red Stars in 2020. While in Chicago, Sitch joined the University of Chicago men’s soccer team as their head coach, and in her first season, the team went undefeated with 22 wins and one draw. This culminated in Sitch becoming the first woman to win an NCAA Championship as a men’s soccer head coach.

Don Amidei was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday. A DePaul basketball, boxing and track and field athlete who graduated in 1949, Amidei coached DePaul’s cross-country and track and field teams from 1962-69. Amidei passed away in 2008 at the age of 82.

The most recognizable inductee of the 2023 class was Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who received the Lifetime Contribution in Sport Award. This award recognizes a figure that promotes sportsmanship, teamwork, and wellness in the Chicagoland sports community and invests in its growth.

The first inductee speaker of the evening, Pritzker, said he feels responsible for providing more opportunities in sports to Chicago kids who struggle to pursue their dreams due to a lack of resources.

“Since we reenacted the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, we’ve revitalized recreation centers and our parks, where it often all begins,” Pritzker said. “I’m so proud of the culture and history of Chicago sports.”

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