Bobby Nichols selected for Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame
Induction is June 3 in Nashville
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – One day after Bobby Nichols would have turned 70, the Ohio Valley Conference announced Thursday that the former Tennessee Tech golfer and coach and one of the state’s greatest ambassadors for the sport will be inducted into the OVC Hall of Fame.
Nichols, who passed away in March 2008, and former OVC Chief Operating Officer Ron English will be officially inducted at the annual OVC honors Luncheon on Friday, June 3 at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Nashville.
Nichols had a legendary career at Tennessee Tech, first as a player and later as a coach, while also being a promoter of the game of golf and spending three years playing professionally on the PGA Tour. Born in Algood, Tenn., Nichols grew up as a caddie at the Cookeville Golf Club and would go on to be a four-year letterwinner on the Tennessee Tech men’s golf team (1959-63), including being the team captain his senior season. That year he posted a seventh place finish at the OVC Championship while helping the Golden Eagles to a third-place team finish.
After playing professionally, Nichols took over the Tennessee Tech men’s golf program in 1979 and was responsible for establishing the Golden Eagle women’s team in 1986. During the 1990 season, he guided the TTU men’s golf squad to the 1990 OVC Championship, the first for the program in 35 years. The victory also helped the TTU athletics department clinch its first-ever OVC All-Sports Trophy. Later he would be named OVC Coach of the Year following the 2005 season. Nichols would later guide the Tennessee Tech women’s golf team to the 2000 and 2001 OVC Championships and be named OVC Coach of the Year in each of those seasons.
A 32-year veteran with the TTU program, Nichols was inducted into the Tennessee Tech Hall of Fame in 1990. After a battle with cancer Nichols passed away at the age of 66 on March 16, 2008.
The longest-tenured full-time employee in Ohio Valley Conference history, English joined the staff in July 1992 as an Assistant Commissioner. In his 15 years of service to the League, he held virtually every job, including working with tournament operations, scheduling for men’s and women’s team sports, finances, marketing and media relations, in addition to becoming the league’s first-ever compliance officer, a brief tenure as the OVC’s supervisor of men’s basketball officials, and serving as interim commissioner from February to May 2003. English also was the long-time tournament director for many League championships, most notably the OVC baseball and basketball tournaments, overseeing the evolution of both events from campus sites to neutral, pre-determined venues. He also served as the tournament manager for the 2000 and 2005 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament First and Second Round events held in Nashville.
Before leaving the OVC in October 2007, English was promoted to Senior Associate Commissioner for Operations and Chief Operating Officer. He is currently the Director of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in Indianapolis. At the NCAA, English directs game operations for all rounds of the NCAA Men’s Tournament, and serves as the main office contact and the coordinator of all training efforts for the tournament hosts throughout the country.
A native of Detroit, Mich., English began his athletics career at SIU Edwardsville in 1983 and later spent seven years at the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Ohio Valley Conference Hall of Fame was organized in 1977 with the intent of honoring the coaches, administrators, faculty and staff who have been associated with the OVC for at least five years and provided extensive and outstanding service to the Conference. With the induction of this year’s class the membership will reach 69.
Photo above: Bobby Nichols talks with senior Jonathan Cox during the 2007-08 season.
Some material for this story was provided by the OVC