Paul Nicholas '87

Soccer - Hall of Fame Class of 2005









Harvard Athletic Achievements

Nicholas was named First Team All-Ivy in 1984, 1985 and 1986 and honorable mention as a freshman in 1983.  He earned the Louis G. Williams Award in 1986, which is given annually to a senior on the Harvard soccer team who, like Louis G. Williams ’64, displays exceptional athletic skill, sportsmanship and devotion to the team. As captain of the 1986 team that made it to the NCAA Final Four, his coach described Nicholas at the time as “the most effective leader” he’d ever coached.  
 

Remembering Harvard Athletics

I would like to thank the Harvard Varsity Club for this honor.  With the exception of those rare round-trip bus journeys to Cornell, my memories of the soccer team are wonderful ones.  Many of my former team-mates remain friends, and those alliances certainly made it easier for a young Glaswegian to adapt to a new environment.

A more idyllic setting than Ohiri Field to play college soccer one could not find, especially during those crisp Thanksgiving mornings as we prepared for  upcoming NCAA games. It is there I would like to think our teams left a legacy of entertaining soccer.  Many individuals contributed to this.  Our trainer, Henry Jannergren, has sadly passed away.  Any notion of the dour Swedish stereotype certainly did not apply to Henry.  "Ice the daylights out of it", and I paraphrase here, was one of his favorite sayings to those unable to participate in that day's practice.  Our manager, Sheila Cohen, also left us far too early.  Another character, and I am sure if she was here today Sheila would be the first to admit that map reading was not her forte. Especially on the aforementioned road trips.

George Gibson and his Friends of Harvard Soccer team for their selfless fundraising efforts also deserve a special mention.  Jack Reardon and all at the Athletic Department also provided great support to the program throughout.  I can hardly forget Seamus Malin either, pre-internet, for his devotion to the BBC World Service and resultant European soccer score updates after our home games.  Diane and Pat Brannigan too from that Scottish enclave in New Jersey, Kearny, for being my surrogate family and providing me a home away from home.

A few words cannot do justice to my admiration for our coach, Jape Shattuck.  I was fortunate to represent Scotland at youth international level.  The coaching I received there did not approach the technical expertise level of Jape.  Off the field too, a better ambassador for Harvard one would be hard pressed to find.  We of course had our disagreements, and in a player-coach dynamic there will always only be one winner.  Never was that made clearer to me then when I gently questioned a football coach one pre-season dinner in the Freshman Union as to why the football team was enjoying steaks, while my soccer comrades dined on baked fish almondine.  Harvard athletics policy was not my area of expertise, as I was forcefully reminded the following day at practice. The other members of Jape's coaching staff, in particular the presence and drive of Robert Cuddy, also made playing soccer that much more enjoyable.

In closing, I would like to thank my partner Deirdre, and family and friends for attending this evening. I would also like to congratulate my fellow inductees. I am proud to receive this honor and would like to dedicate it to my parents, Rose and Tommy.