Arnold Mickens, the Broad Ripple graduate who took the college football world by storm with his sensational two-year run at Butler University, died Tuesday at the age of 49.
Mickens was an all-state running back and linebacker at Broad Ripple. After transferring to Butler from Indiana University, Mickens set 18 NCAA Division I-AA game, season and career football records. He led the nation in rushing with an NCAA-record 2,255 yards in 1994. He set an NCAA record by rushing for more than 200 yards in eight consecutive games in 1994. He rushed for 203 yards in one half against Valparaiso. He ran the ball 56 times in one game, and on 26 consecutive plays in another.
“We rode Arnold,” said Ken LaRose, who coached Mickens and is now Butler’s associate athletic director of development. “People knew what we were going to do, and we said, ‘Stop us.’ You’d be called an idiot if you have this stallion in the backfield and you’re throwing the ball.”
Arnold appeared in three games for the Indianapolis Colts in 1996.
He influenced countless students during his time working in the Indianapolis Public Schools system. He spent time at George Washington High School as a counselor, and was working as a ninth grade counselor at Crispus Attucks at the time of his death.
“He was a gentle giant,” Attucks principal Lauren Franklin said. “He brought that aura of peace around him. He had a genuine spirit and a genuine heart for helping young people. It wasn’t just a job. It was something he was truly passionate about.”
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