Aldie, VA (July 1, 2016) – John Champe graduate Williams Nichols will play football and run track for Lawrence University beginning the 2016/2017 academic school year.
“I was relieved to commit to Lawrence this past April, said Nichols. Finding the right school was both time-consuming and stressful. Despite that, it was a lot of fun meeting so many different people and visiting places I never would have seen if not for the experience. In the end, I am very happy with the decision I made.”
Located in Appleton, Wisconsin, Lawrence University is a private liberal arts college that was founded in 1847. Lawrence is devoted to Engaged Learning as the most effective way to prepare students for lives of personal fulfillment and professional accomplishment. Although students may have encountered engaged learning experiences elsewhere, at Lawrence it is the foremost attribute of every subject and class offered. By actively engaging in challenging and meaningful learning experiences with faculty and one another, students will be prepared to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. Those who prefer to passively absorb information passed from teacher to student will find Lawrence to be a poor fit. Those who prefer instead to explore, debate, create, research, practice and perform in collaboration with others, will find Lawrence to be an exhilarating community in which to thrive. The U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 edition of Best Colleges National Liberal Arts ranks Lawrence #57.
“I liked the strength of Lawrence’s academics, said Nichols. And I really like the coaches and players. The football team runs a very fast and unique offense, which suits my interest. Like Champe a few years ago, the football team is in a building phase, with new coaches, facilities, and support from the university president, so there are huge opportunities to grow with the program. I also like how I will be able to play both football and run track. And it’s a bonus that LU is near Green Bay, so I’ll be close to my cousin Mason Crosby, who kicks for the Packers.”
Nichol’s head football coach will be Rob McCarthy. Although McCarthy has only been at the helm as of January 2015, the football team is the oldest intercollegiate athletic program at the university and has a storied history that includes 16 NCAA Division III Midwest Conference championships. Prior to joining Lawrence as the school’s 28th head football coach, McCarthy served as the defensive line coach at Carleton College and was the long-time defensive coordinator at St. Olaf College. While as St. Olaf, he was part of a coaching state that put together the best 12-year record in school history with a 73-47 record.
Jason Fast will be Nichols’ head track & field coach. In only his third season as the Vikings’ head coach, Lawrence won the 2011 Midwest Conference men’s track & field championship, and he earned conference Coach of the Year honors in the process. As a track & field athlete, Fast was a four-time All-WIAC honoree in the 3000m and 5000m run, and 3000m steeplechase. Fast was also a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championships in the 5000m indoors and the 3000m steeplechase.
“My first year, I expect to be challenged academically, said Nichols, but believe I will rise to the challenge. I am happy that the school is on a trimester system so I won’t have more than 3 classes per term, including when I’m in season for football and track. For football, the opportunity exists to kick and punt my first year. I also expect to compete for other positions, like wide receiver. For track, I expect to be an immediate contributor to the team as a sprinter.”
Nichols started playing football during his freshman year of high school. His skills as a soccer player translated well in that he was Champe’s starting varsity kicker all four of his years. He also trained with his cousin Mason in Green Bay prior to his freshman year to best prepare himself for the kicker position. Nichols holds all of John Champe’s kicking records including longest field goal and number of field goals per game, per season, and per career. His senior year was his first season running track. Despite being a rookie to the track team, Nichols holds the school record in the 100m dash and tied the time for the 800m run. He was also part of relays teams with school records in the 4×100, 4×400, and 4×800.
When asked about some of his fondest high school sports memories Nichols shared, “Being a part of building Champe’s football program when the school opened its doors, and going from 0-10 our freshman year and ending up 10-0 during the regular season our senior year was special. I was able to experience all of those moments with my friends. We worked hard and developed very strong bonds because of what we did together. A most memorable moment was kicking the game winning field goal in overtime against Potomac Falls for Champe’s first-ever win when I was a sophomore. Another great moment was recovering an onside kick on the first play of a play-off game my senior year, then kicking the game winning field goal in the last minute of the same game.”
Asked what advice he’d give other pursuing their dreams, Nichols responded, “Set a goal and take steps towards that goal every day, even if they are small ones. Work hard, go to camps, and seek instruction on how you can improve.”
Please join us in wishing William the very best in his success on the gridiron, around the track, and in the classroom as he pursues a degree in Computer Science, Math, and Engineering at Lawrence University.