Fellowship of Christian Athletes establishes award in honor of late tight end

Junior Mitchell Henry catches a pass for a first down. WKU plays against Arkansas State on Nov. 30, 2013 at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Drake Kizer

The WKU chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes has created the “Mitchell Henry Leadership Award” in remembrance of former WKU tight end Mitchell Henry.

The award, which was established in conjunction with the Henry family and the Mitchell Henry Foundation, honors Henry’s life and legacy.

Henry, who starred at Elizabethtown High School prior to his time on the Hill, was a notable tight end for the Hilltoppers from 2011-14.  Henry racked up 1,094 yards on 78 catches with 12 touchdowns in his WKU career.

Henry played in 47 games with 22 starts during his four-year tenure, helping WKU secure its first winning season at the FBS level (2011), first FBS bowl appearance (2012) and first FBS bowl win (2014).

Following his collegiate career, Henry signed free agent deals with the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, and Baltimore Ravens. Henry played in two NFL regular season games with the Broncos in 2015.

Henry passed away following a fight with leukemia on June 30, 2017.

”Mitchell was never one to want to be in the spotlight,” Madison Henry, his wife, said in a press release. “But I personally believe sometimes the ones not in the spotlight shine brighter than the ones who are. I know he would be so honored to be recognized for his leadership as he led by incredible example. It was difficult going through three different head coaches with three different coaching types in his four years at Western Kentucky, but the one thing he constantly did was stay true to what he believed in and who he was even if one of them expected him to be different.”

Four WKU student-athletes, two football and two non-football, will be honored in the fall and spring for their commitment to character, work ethic and leadership ability.

Each spring, one of those four student-athletes will be awarded with scholarship monies at the Hilltopper Legacy Dinner. This year, the event will be held Sunday, April 14 in Diddle Arena.

The two current WKU student-athletes who have already received the award are men’s golfer Dawson McDaniel and softball player Kelsey McGuffin.

McDaniel, McGuffin and each future award winner will be displayed on a mural inside Houchens-Smith Stadium.

“Mitchell’s relationship with Christ and his legacy as a student-athlete were such huge parts of his life,” WKU FCA Director Wayne Dickens said in the release. “With the Mitchell Henry Leadership Award, we wanted to try and find a way to continue to tell the story of Mitchell’s life as well as inspire a new generation of Hilltoppers to leave similar legacies here on The Hill and in their lives after their playing days are over.”

Reporter Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @drakekizer_.