Taking His Game to Europe
by Heidi J. Hormel ’85
October 3, 2011
Ian Mitchell ’10, shown playing in Germany, found the football fans in Europe to be fanatical.
It’s the same number but a different country for former Red
Devils quarterback Ian “Mitch” Mitchell ’10. In February, he donned the purple
and orange with his signature lucky 13 as a member of the German Football
League’s (GFL’s) Frankfurt Universe, fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a
professional football player.
By the time
the season had ended, he hadn’t learned much German, but he had helped lead his
team to a championship season.
who graduated with a degree in religion, actually had to turn down multiple
contract offers from European teams during his senior year, because he wanted
to finish his studies in Carlisle. The GFL’s season starts in February.
He took a
job coaching with the Red Devils after graduation, then last fall, after much
debate, signed on with the Universe.
talking it over with Coach [Darwin] Breaux, my friends and family, we decided
that it was something that I could not pass up,” said Mitchell. “Thankfully,
Coach Breaux was understanding and let me out of my coaching responsibilities
for the spring ,” explained Mitchell, who is a Red Devils quarterbacks
did not study abroad and did not know any German when he arrived in Frankfurt.
don’t,” he said, adding, “President Durden won’t be happy with that answer.”
Mitchell admitted that he did learn enough German to ask for directions and
The lack of
foreign-language skills didn’t stop him from traveling, though. Mitchell, who
had chosen Dickinson, in part, because it was only two hours from his hometown,
Newtown Square, Pa., took trips to France, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands
with Universe teammate and fellow Dickinsonian Andrew Ciukurescu ’10.
season cut short because of a knee injury suffered in July, Mitchell said that
the highlight of his on-field time was blanking the Universe’s biggest rival,
the Hanau Hornets, 64-0. In that game, Mitchell ran for three touchdowns, threw
an additional three TDs and had no incomplete passes.
Dickinson, Mitchell was a three-time All-Centennial Conference (CC) selection
at quarterback, breaking numerous conference and school records. He led the Red
Devils to a conference title and an NCAA Division III playoff appearance in
2006, as well as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southeast Championship
Rookie of the Year in 2006 and named the team’s offensive Most Valuable Player
in 2007, 2008 and 2009, he became the first quarterback in CC history to rush
for more than 2,000 yards and throw for more than 5,000 yards in a career.
playmaker,” said Breaux, Dickinson’s head football coach. “He’s one of those
kids who comes along once in a coach’s career. He can just make things happen. He’s
very explosive”—able to accelerate quickly and stop on a dime.
that this is the first time in his 22 years as head coach that he had former
students playing in the European league.
Many in the
Dickinson alumni community may remember Mitchell not only for his football
exploits but for the Rare Disease Champion Award that recognized him as a
leader in sports who had made a positive and lasting impact on the rare-disease
four years playing on Biddle Field, Mitchell raised more than $135,000, which
he used to help children with cancer—a cause that he began supporting while
still in high school. He doesn’t have immediate plans to continue his
Mitchell enjoyed his time in Germany and expects to recover fully from his
injury, he has no plans to return to overseas play. “But the itch to play may
come back,” he admitted.
“Right now, I am trying to begin a
career in coaching,” added Mitchell, who returned as the Red Devils
quarterbacks coach this fall. “I am lucky enough to be learning from some great
coaches, so hopefully in the next five years or 10 years, I will still be
coaching college football … at Dickinson.”