Nan Nichols, a long-time coach and administrator at The College of Wooster, will be inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame next month, the OBHOF announced recently. She'll be part of the 5th annual class, which is headlined by nine-time NBA all-star and coaching legend Lenny Wilkens, and the 17 honorees will be recognized Saturday, May 22, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
"I was certainly humbled. That's quite an honor," answered Nichols, who remains a Wooster resident, as to her reaction when she learned of the upcoming induction.
Nichols, well known as one of the early leaders of the women's sports movement, retired from Wooster in 1995 after a 32-year career as a coach and athletic director. In basketball, which she calls her "first love of sport," she guided 22 teams to a still-standing school record of 186 wins (186-131), a share of the inaugural North Coast Athletic Conference championship (1985), and two berths into the NCAA Div. III Tournament (1983, 1985).
A member of the College's "W" Association Hall of Fame, Nichols made sure to note that the credit for her latest honor goes to the student-athletes. "I'm really the most proud of what my players did and what they've gone on to do. They were tremendous people and had a tremendous work ethic. That helped us do some pretty good things."
As impressive as her coaching accolades are, which also includes a 53-8 dual-meet record as women's swimming coach the first seven years of the program's history (1973-79), Nichols is renowned for her work as an advocate for equality for women's athletics.
"We had to fight awfully hard," she recalled. "Comments like 'what are you doing in the men's gym?' sound ridiculous now, but it happened. It took a long time, but it was all worth it to see everybody get the chance that they have today. It doesn't matter what gender, they should all have a chance."
The public is welcome to attend the OBHOF induction ceremony. For more information, visit www.ohiohoopzone.com.