Basketball, Baseball and Football
Raymond “Whitey” Nicholson was a three-sport star at Rochester High School, graduating in 1935. Basketball was his best sport, and he was named to the All-District 1 team in his senior year. Nicholson spent one year at Rochester Junior College before enrolling at Carleton. The Yellowjackets were undefeated in basketball during the regular season that year, losing only in the state junior college championship. In that 1925-26 season, Nicholson set the state junior college conference scoring record of 162 points, and, in the eleven-game season against “major” opponents, he scored 203 of his team’s total 363 points.
At Carleton, Nicholson lettered twice as an end in football and three times in baseball, alternating between pitcher and the outfield. In basketball, the three teams he played on won 39 games and lost six, four of the losses coming to Big Ten teams. Carleton won the Midwest Conference championship in each of those years, losing only a single conference game, and winning every game played in Sayles-Hill. Nicholson captained the 1929-30 squad and was named to the All-Midwest Conference team. Following Carleton’s post-season win over the Minnesota College All Stars, the Minneapolis Journal cited both his game-high scoring and defensive play, and called him “the finest player on the floor.”
Following graduation from Carleton, Nicholson coached football, basketball and baseball at Lanesboro High School from 1930 to 1940. His 1930-31 basketball team brought Lanesboro its first District 1 championship in the school’s history and still stands as its only district basketball crown. His 1937 football team still ranks as one of the state’s few undefeated, untied and unscored-upon high school elevens. During these years, he also played semi-professional basketball (including games against the Harlem Globe Trotters) and baseball for the Rochester Aces and the Minnesota Coaches.