Dr. Harold Nichols

1970 Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame Inductee

March 22, 1917 – February 22, 1997

Dr. Harold Nichols, wrestling coach at Iowa State, began his wrestling career as a high school standout at Cresco, He drew enough attention to gain a starting position on the University of Michigan squad, where in 1939 he won both a Big Ten and an NCAA title at 145 pounds. After graduation, he became an Air Force pilot during World War II.

Nichols went on to earn a master’s degree at Illinois and a doctorate from his alma mater Michigan. He started his coaching career at Arkansas State in 1949, serving as a mentor in both wrestling and track. From there, he moved to Iowa State in the fall of 1953.

In the ensuing years, Nichols has received honors too numerous to list, but his achievements include the following:
Dr. Nichols is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, sponsored by the United States Wrestling Federation, and has been honored four times with a national Coach of the Year award. In 1966, he was elected Wrestling Man of the Year. Other honors include membership in the Wrestling Coaches’ Hall of Fame, membership in the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, former president of the Wrestling Coaches’ Association, many years as both a member and chairman of the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee, membership on the Olympic Wrestling Committee, vice-president for wrestling in the AAU, and president of the Iowa section of the AAU.

Perhaps more important than the honors has been Nick’s impact on the sport of wrestling at all levels. Thanks to him and a few other pioneers like him, wrestling is one of the fastest-growing participant and spectator sports in the U.S. and the world today.

Harold Nichols was inducted into the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1970.

Additional Honors & Achievements
  • 3rd in State 1934
  • Big Ten Champion 1939
  • NCAA Champion 1939
  • Coached 6 NCAA Championship teams, 11 2nd place, 6 3rd place, and 2 4th place teams
  • 7 Big Eight Champions
Dr. Harold Nichols Featured Photo
High School
Cresco, Iowa

CoachDave Bartelma

University of Michigan