March 9, 2007
TAMPA, FL - 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 "Skeeter" 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 Saturday's second semi-final game of the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament.
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 "Skeeter" 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.
"Tom was an extremely bright guy and loved what he did. He truly loved it." Corrigan said upon Mickle's passing. "He was a very creative thinker. He always had ideas for how to work things out."
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 and Champs Sports Bowl. In that role he negotiated contracts with the ACC, Big Ten and Southeastern Conference as well as ABC and ESPN that have elevated the status of both of those postseason contests.
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.
FRANCIS AWARD RECIPIENTS
1990 Bob Bradley
1991 C.D. Chesley
1992 Hugh Morton
1993 Joe Blair
1994 no award
1995 Smith Barrier, Mary Garber
1996 Dick Herbert
1997 Irwin Smallwood
1998 Bill Brill
1999 Jim Phillips
2000 Garry Dornburg, Ron Green
2001 Furman Bisher
2002 Rick Brewer, Woody Durham
2003 John Feinstein
2004 Bob Jordan
2005 Billy Packer
2006 Gene Corrigan
2007 Tom Mickle