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OVC names Women's Golf Coach of the Year Award for Bobby Nichols

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- The Ohio Valley Conference has named the annual women's golf Coach of the Year award for former Tennessee Tech player and coach, the late Bobby Nichols. The honoring of Nichols for the yearly award came out of the league's annual meetings that concluded Friday in Nashville.

Coincidentally, Nichols was honored Friday at the league's annual Awards Dinner with induction into the OVC Hall of Fame.

"Naming this award for Bobby is something that would have brought him tremendous pride," said Mark Wilson, TTU Director of Athletics. "I would say it would have put a big smile on his face, but Bobby seemed to always have a smile on his face, anyway. He was one of the true gentlemen of the Ohio Valley Conference, a great competitor, an outstanding coach, and a fantastic person.

"Each coach who receives this award throughout the years will recognize the contributions he made to the league, to his sport, and to all who had the honor to know him," Wilson said.

The meetings ran June 1-3 and items of business that highlighted the meetings included web streaming, the reinstatement of in-person coaches’ meetings, naming of the Women’s Golf Coach of the Year award, and SIU Edwardsville’s eligibility to win regular-season championships in the 2011-12 season.

It was approved to name the OVC Women’s Golf Coach of the Year award for Nichols, who 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.

Nichols passed away in March 2008 from complications in his fight against cancer. A member of the TTU Sports Hall of Fame, Nichols was the region's greatest advocate for his sport, and was recognized as one of the most successful players and coaches in Tennessee.

Nichols was in his 32nd season as coach of the Golden Eagles. He guided the Golden Eagles to the 1990 Ohio Valley Conference championship, earning Coach of the Year honors, and had his team in contention nearly every year. He was elected to the Tech Sports Hall of Fame, coordinated and hosted numerous collegiate and regional golf tournaments, hosted several junior golf clinics and had an active playing career.

Nichols was named Tennessee Player of the Year in 1970 and 1976 and was runner-up in 1992 (second only to Craig King whom he coached at Tech). He played in the U.S. Senior Open in Birmingham, Mich., in 1991 and in Bethesda, MD., in 1995.

Bobby served as pro at both Ironwood and the Cookeville Country Club, and in 1989 became owner of Ironwood. In the fall of 1979, he returned to his position as Tech's golf coach and painstakingly rebuilt the program.

In 1990, Nichols' Golden Eagle golfers captured their first OVC championship in 35 years and helped tech clinch its first-ever OVC All-Sports Trophy.

In other league business completed at the meetings:

* The Conference office was charged to work with an outside firm to conduct a technical assessment of the current web streaming equipment and staffing issues with a long term goal of establishing a comprehensive approach to conference-wide web stream. The conference has been offering fans live and on-demand content on OVCSports.TV for the past five seasons. After bringing back in-person media days for football and basketball last year, the budget was approved to reinstate in-person coaches’ meetings.

* The coaches for football and basketball will meet in-person on an annual basis while coaches in all other sports will meet in-person every other year with conference calls to supplement the meeting schedule.

* It was confirmed that SIU Edwardsville will play an OVC schedule in those sports that have a regular-season champion. The Cougars will be eligible for OVC postseason play in 2012-13. SIUE officially joined the conference in 2008 and has been in the reclassification process since becoming a member of the league. The Cougar softball program, which was the school’s women’s sport designee to be fast-tracked to Division I, earned a spot in 2011 OVC Softball Championship in its first year of eligibility.

* The administrators in attendance also took part in educational sessions on gender equity, enforcement and on the financing of Division I athletics.

* With the addition of Belmont University into the league beginning in the 2012-13 season, the constituent groups began discussing the various transitional issues and formed a subcommittee to further address related issues.

* It was also announced that next year's Chair of the Board of Presidents will be Dr. Tim Hall from Austin Peay State University while the Chair of Board of Athletic Directors for 2011-12 will be Austin Peay’s Dave Loos.