Class of 2004
James E. "Bill" Nichols attended and played sports at Athens High School before entering the U. S. Navy during World War II. He returned to Athens High and played football his senior year in the fall of 1946. He received a scholarship to play football at the University of Alabama.
He went on to play two years at Mississippi Southern, one season at Tennessee Wesleyan (junior college) and two seasons at Memphis State University where he was a two-way starter.
Nichols had a long career in the coaching field. He coached at Central High School in Mem- phis, at Athens High, Butler High, New Iberia High School, Lafayette High School in Louisiana and at Southwestern Louisiana University. He also was a vocational guidance counselor at Butler where he retired.
"I was an end in high school," Nichols recalled. "I played both ways. In those days you had to do that."
As a coach, he was never a head coach. But as an assistant, he coached some of the best teams in the state of Tennessee and Alabama including the 1954 Athens High School team that went undefeated under head coach Ferman Elmore. He also helped Butler High School to two TVC champion- ships and the Memphis Central teams won two state championships.