2007 Francis Award Honors Tom Mickle
Tom Mickle, whose great love for college athletics and respect for the media who report on them were evident throughout a 34-year career at Duke University, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Florida Citrus Sports, is the 2007 recipient of the Marvin ï¿½Skeeterï¿½ Francis Award.
Mickle passed away last April while battling kidney cancer. His wife Jill will accept the award from ACC commissioner John Swofford in ceremonies at halftime of tomorrowï¿½s second semi-final game of the ACC Menï¿½s Basketball Tournament in Tampa.
The Francis Award is presented annually by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) and the ACC in recognition of notable achievement and service to the media in their coverage of ACC sports. It is named in honor of the late Marvin ï¿½Skeeterï¿½ Francis, longtime sports information director at Wake Forest and former ACC service bureau director.
Mickle, whose first association with college sports was as a student manager for the Duke football team, served his alma mater for 17 years, primarily in the sports information office. He joined the ACC in 1989 as an assistant commissioner and later was promoted to associate commissioner under Gene Corrigan.
ï¿½Tom was an extremely bright guy and loved what he did. He truly loved it.ï¿½ Corrigan said upon Mickleï¿½s passing. ï¿½He was a very creative thinker. He always had ideas for how to work things out.ï¿½
Mickle has been credited with formulating the college football postseason plan that has evolved into the Bowl Championship Series. Originally known as the Bowl Alliance, his initiative created a greater opportunity for the ACC football champion to be included in the national championship picture as determined in the major bowl games.
In 2002, Mickle became more closely involved with the national bowl system when he was named executive director of Florida Citrus Sports in Orlando, where he supervised the Capital One Bowl, the Champs Sports Bowl, the Orlando Citrus Parade, the OUC Half Marathon and 5k and the many other annual FCSports events. He negotiated landmark contracts with the ACC as well as Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences and ABC/ESPN that have elevated the status of Orlandoï¿½s bowl games. This past December the press box of the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium was officially named in his honor.
Throughout his career and whatever his role, Mickle maintained a positive working relationship with the media and was ever responsive to their needs. Those in that profession who he encountered during his life will be forever grateful for his assistance and cooperation.