The mission of the Mighty Mites Youth Football Program is to strive to provide its’ participants with a fun, safe, supervised youth football program whereby every child gets to practice, play and learn to become part of a team.
Our program founder, William R. "Bill" Thomas passed from this life on November 23, 2002, at 76 years of age. Mighty Mites dedicates every season to Bill for his untold hours of work for the Mighty Mites program, his leadership and vision, and his true concern for the youth of our community. Without Bill, we would not be where we are today.
Bill Thomas was a multi-talented football player in the 1940s at the University of Arkansas. He was the starting center and defensive linemen in an era when football players never came off the field. Bill, known in college as Billy Ray Thomas, played in the first football game at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium.
Bill's favorite prayer, in our loving memory of Bill and his wife, Betty, is offered to all Mighty Miters:
In the battle that goes on through life, I ask but a field that is fair...with everything equal in the strife, the courage to strive, and to dare.
If I should win, let this be my code, my faith with my honor held high.
If I should lose, let me stand by the road, and cheer as the winners go by.
Amen. (author unknown)
From our Founder
One of the greatest pleasures derived from doing something is doing it correctly. This applies to work, fishing, cooking, or participating in athletics. Everyone wants to do his best and this can be done only by applying correct fundamentals to the job or recreation involved
Boys of grade school age will play football. Usually there is supervision by older boys or none at all. This type of play can lead to improper skills and attitudes. The boys will usually have fun but most games of this type end up with someone getting hurt or becoming angry
During my years as a football player, coach, and official, I have observed that the better all-around players and students are the ones who had received close supervision during their skill learning periods. Therefore, when my son, Jim, was starting to play sandlot; football I felt I could help him by seeing that he played with supervision.
Mighty Mites football developed as a result of this need for supervised football on the grade school level.
In 1957, Mr. Bill Thomas, well known former football coach in the Springfield high school systems, stopped to watch some of the boys in his neighborhood play football in the fall. While he watched the boys at play, Bill noticed they were playing without any type of instruction and with no protective equipment whatsoever.He realized they were frequently making their own rules, since they apparently did not know the regulation football rules. It occurred to him right then that those boys should have the chance to learn to play the game correctly, and that they should have some type of protective equipment.
As he continued to watch them, Bill also noticed that small boys were playing with larger and older boys, and he realized that this afforded the possibility of disagreement among the boys of different ages, and that it increased the chances of accidental injury.
Deciding to do what he could to help, Bill organized, on his own time, a small group of boys in his neighborhood into teams, and he lent his assistance by supervising and instructing them in the fundamentals of football. The boys loved it and Bill frankly admits that he did too. When the teams disbanded that year, Bill promised to help again the next year.
When the next year arrived, Bill's idea mushroomed as other boys learned about and became interested in his program. He made arrangements to have several practice sessions with boys of various ages on a large scale. Again his program made a big hit with the boys.
The following year, the name "Mighty Mites" was chosen to identify Bill's program, and the boys, now numbering some 400, practiced and played some exhibition games in Springfield and a great many people were getting interested in the work Bill was doing.
So much interest was created, in fact, that in 1960 a League was formed, known as the "Springfield Parents and Boosters of the Mighty Mites Football League."
Dr. Arch Lowe, Sr., well known Springfield physician, was elected President of the new league, and Bill Thomas, founder of the program was named as Vice-President. Jack Hamlin, local insurance executive, was elected Secretary and Treasurer, a group of interested business men were appointed to promote and support the new Mighty Mites Football program.
In order to recognize such men as Dr. Arch Lowe, Sr., and Doc Blasi, the board of directors initiated a scholarship program financed primarily from special contributions made to the program by appreciative parents and successful businessmen who believe in the program.
In 1969 Mighty Mites, Inc. received official recognition by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable and educational institution. This means that all contributions to the Mighty Mites program are tax deductible by the donor. During the next 44 years, the Mighty Mites program was expanded to include Fordland, Fair Grove, Rogersville, Buffalo, Strafford, Ava, Willard, Nixa, Spokane, and Sparta.
Here, on fields tailor-made for them and under the guidance of supervised coaches, your youngsters and others like them, can learn the fundamentals of football in a safe sportsman-like way, and have a barrel of fun doing it.
Lennie Peterie (Assistant Rules Coordinator)
David Taylor (President)