Saturday, September 10, 2016 ~ 11:00 a.m.
United Methodist Church ~ Ithaca, Nebraska
Interment at Sunrise North Cemetery ~ Wahoo, Nebraska
Military Honors by American Legion #82 and VFW #4502
Friday, September 9, 2016 ~ 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Svoboda Funeral Home ~ Wahoo, Nebraska
Saunders County Lost Pets, Wahoo, NE or Ithaca United Methodist Church, Ithaca, NE
George “Nick” Leodean Nicodemus, 92 of Hereford, AZ, died on September 3, 2016 at Golden Oaks Assisted Living in Hereford. George, the youngest of 12 children, was born on July 17, 1924 to Franklin and Emma(Mullennax) Nicodemus in Des Moines, Iowa. A beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he also was Coach Nick or Papa Coach to many others. George spent his early school years in Wynne, Arkansas. As a small 7th grader, he discovered his lifelong passion for basketball after scoring his first basket, a reverse lay-up, against a bigger 8th grader. He loved to surprise the defense with his offensive moves.
The family returned to Iowa during his high school years where he was an outstanding multi-sport athlete for Maxwell High School. Immediately following high school graduation in 1943, he entered the U.S. Navy serving until his honorable discharge in 1946. Using the GI Bill, he began his pursuit of a college degree. A slow reader, he struggled but persevered and, following his junior college graduation, started a 40-plus years teaching/coaching career. He took great pride in eventually earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working and raising his family.
In the early 1970’s, he found his niche’ coaching women’s basketball. His John F. Kennedy College (Wahoo, NE) teams won two national AAU championships. In 1973, the team was selected to accompany a men’s All-Star team to the People’s Republic of China. The teams were the second to enter China (following a USA ping-pong team) as part of President Nixon’s “Friendship Through Sports” initiative. He went on to coach the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s women’s basketball teams (1975-77) and continues to hold the second highest win percentage in UNL women’s basketball history. He was a pioneer coach in the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL), a precursor to today’s WNBA, coaching the Iowa Cornets and Milwaukee Does.
In 1986, he joined his wife, Karen, relocating to Arizona where she had accepted a position as Cochise College women’s basketball coach. He coached briefly at Buena High School (AZ) before joining the college as assistant women’s basketball coach. He assumed the head coaching position when Karen resigned to accept an administrative position, continuing for several years. After full retirement, George enjoyed his softball friends and visiting over coffee with many friends, always ready with a story to share, with time always for teaching the finer skills of shooting to young family members visiting Arizona. He believed in education and giving young people a chance for success. He was seldom disappointed.
Throughout his life, he enjoyed competing in various sports, making many friends along the way. Well into his 80’s, he enjoyed senior coed softball and competing in Senior Olympic track and basketball.
He leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Karen, his children Patricia Clark, Cindy Holliday, Kim (Dale) White and Rex (Kim) Nicodemus. Seven grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, numerous nephews, nieces, his wife’s family, and his beloved 4-legged friends also survive him.
Nic and I had a friendship that went back to the early 60’s in Des Moines Iowa. He coached against us in the old Jewish Community Center junior high basketball league then became the sophomore and JV coach at North High during the mid 60’s. He will be missed by all that knew him. My deepest sympathies.
My deepest sympathies to you Coach Karen Nicodemus. Sincerely Shawn Bell
My deepest sympathy to Karen and family for the loss of Coach Nick. I have lots of great memories of playing college basketball with Coach Nick at the helm.
Oh Willie, I probably drove that man crazy more than anyone else and he always came back with a grin AND a smart remark. So many students and so many ball players influenced by his genius and love of the round ball. Sending a great big OMEGA hug your way.
So sorry to hear of the passing of a great coach and man. Karen, please know that you have my sympathy and are in my thoughts and prayers.