BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – In remembrance of the life and legacy of former WKU tight end
Mitchell Henry, the WKU chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) has
established the “Mitchell Henry Leadership Award,” in conjunction with Henry’s
family and the Mitchell Henry Foundation.
Henry, a star at Elizabethtown High School during his prep days, was a standout
tight end for the Hilltoppers from 2011-14 and an integral part of WKU’s rise up the
FBS ranks. During Henry’s time on The Hill, the Hilltoppers secured their first
winning season at the FBS level (2011), first FBS bowl appearance (2012) and first
FBS bowl win (2014). He passed away following a courageous battle with leukemia on
June 30, 2017.
“Mitchell was never one to want to be in the spotlight,” said Madison Henry, wife of
the late Mitchell Henry. “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
On the basis of character, work ethic, and leadership ability – three values Henry
displayed and held dear – four WKU student-athletes, two football and two
non-football, will be honored in the fall and spring for their commitment to those
principles. 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 inside E.A. Diddle Arena.
Two WKU student-athletes have already received the award: men’s golfer Dawson
McDaniel and softball’s Kelsey McGuffin.
A mural has also been placed inside Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium where
each award winner will be displayed.
“Mitchell’s relationship with Christ and his legacy as a student-athlete were such
huge parts of his life,” said Wayne Dickens, WKU’s FCA Director. “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
“His mom always prayed, ‘May the lights that shine on him never be brighter than the
lights that shined in him.’ And I believe that statement still remains true to this
day,” Madison Henry added. “In his last moments on this earth, I can promise it
doesn’t matter what NFL team you played for or how many touchdowns you made, the
only thing that matters is that you are saved by the grace of God.”
For his career, Henry tallied 1,094 yards on 78 catches with 12 touchdowns, enjoying
his most productive season as a senior. A true ironman, Henry played in 47 games
over his four-year career with 22 starts, including a career-best nine in his final
campaign. Following his career on The Hill, Henry signed free agent deals with the
Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, and Baltimore Ravens. Henry saw action in two NFL
regular season games with the Broncos in 2015.