Fred Mims had other options upon graduating high school – including playing professional baseball after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round – but he wanted an education, and even the agent told him “if you get hurt, you’re done, but if you go to college, you have an education to fall back on.” So in 1969, Mims chose Canton Community College to be close to his family in Galesburg. He earned his associate’s degree from Spoon River College, then a BA in English as well as his Master’s in Higher Education, both from the University of Iowa.
At the U of I, Mims was a multi-sport athlete and a two-time All-Big Ten first team selection in baseball, having led his team to the College World Series. He won a silver medal in the 1972 Pan American Games and played professionally for the Houston Astros from 1972-1975, when he did indeed experience a career-ending injury.
Mims returned to the U of I and enjoyed a 38-year career in their athletic department. His responsibilities included NCAA, Big Ten Conference and institutional rules compliance, and it was Mims who facilitated the establishment of the first Office of Athletics Student Services. Mims supervised their baseball and wrestling programs along with their mental health program. He also served as the Interim Director of the University’s Center of Diversity and Enrichment during the 2014-2015 academic year.
“I have served on many community boards and been honored in many ways over the years, but it all began here at this college, and I will always remember how the staff embraced me, worked with me, and helped me grow as an individual,” said Mims. “When I wrote Marion Guyton to let her know I had received my degree from the U of I, she said that she ‘ran around like a wild woman looking for Coach Georgieff to tell him.’ They truly cared.”
Mim’s professional achievements include serving on the NCAA’s Certification Committee’s executive committee, being the U of I’s Multicultural Distinguished Educator Award recipient, and being honored by the State of Iowa’s African American Museum. He was inducted into the Cedar Rapid’s professional baseball Hall of Fame, honored by the Division 1A Athletics Directors Association, and by the Community Corrections Improvement Association for his work in providing educational services to youth. He has served on various boards, including the U of I Community Credit Union and the Johnson County Neighborhood Center, and was a judicial appointee to the board of directors of the Iowa Sixth Judicial District of Corrections.
Mims and wife Susan have four children – also outstanding athletes and students – and reside in Iowa.