Robert Nicolette ’66

Former Illini athletic trainer Bob Nicolette died Sunday. Here’s the obituary that ran in Tuesday’s News-Gazette:

Robert Nicolette

CHAMPAIGN — Robert Lane Nicolette, 81, of Champaign passed away at 1:12 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009, at the Champaign Urbana Regional Rehab Center, Savoy.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, 2009, at the First Presbyterian Church, 302 West Church Street, Champaign, IL 61820, with Reverend Doctor Rick Snyder officiating. Private family burial will be held in Woodlawn Cemetery, Urbana.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009. at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, Savoy, IL 61874.

Mr. Nicolette was born on Oct. 31, 1928, in Chicago. He was the son of Anthony O. and Rose Skaluad Nicolette. He married Judith Dawson on Aug. 2, 1958, in Champaign. She survives.

Also surviving are one son, Lane (Serra) Nicolette of Champaign; one daughter, Amy (Tim) Born of Champaign; one son-in-law, Cary Izzi of Morton Grove; seven grandchildren; and one brother, John (Geraldine) A. Nicolette of Winnetka.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Jill Nicolette Izzi.
Mr. Nicolette served in the U.S. Army in the Armored Tank Division during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in physical education. He was head trainer of athletics at the U of I from 1954 until 1969 and real estate broker with Nicolette Hoggatt Dawson Realty. He was a member of Kiwanis, served on the Boys and Girls Club Council, volunteered for Champaign Central High School football as trainer, and for many years served as trainer for the state wrestling and basketball tournaments. He enjoyed fishing at the family cabin in Wisconsin and cottage in Michigan. He attended the First Presbyterian Church of Champaign.

Memorials can be made to the National Parkinson Foundation, Inc., Office of Development, 1501 NW 9th Avenue/Bob Hope Road, Miami, FL 33136-1494 or to the Carle Hospice, 206 A West Anthony Drive, Champaign, IL 61822.

Former Illini basketball Harv Schmidt had this to say about Bob:

— It was with a great deal of sorrow that I learned of Bob Nicollette’s passing away. “Nick” and I were in school together and good friends. He was older having been in the military, a very good student,and, of course, a wonderful student trainer.

When I returned as coach in 1967 “Nick” was our trainer for a couple of years, He ran an up-beat training room, was a genius treating injuries, and highly respected by all Athletes in all sports. He held strongly to his principles of the proper way to to administer treatment and prevent injuries.

It is easy to describe Bob Nicollette–a great guy!!!!

Harv Schmidt

Comments from Al Martindale, current Head Athletic Trainer to our student trainer alumni:

Our sports medicine family lost a member on Sunday night, Bob Nicolette who was the Head Athletic Trainer at the U of I 1954-1969 passed away, he was 81.

Dr Bob Gurtler, Carle Sports Medicine, Rick Jean, Christie Sports Medicine, Skip Pickering, Provena Sports Medicine have all talked about the impact Bob had on the local sports medicine scene. It is important that our sports medicine community be represented, in thoughts and prayers, at his visitation and memorial service.

Bob was a strong advocate of our student athletic training program, through his actions and contributions. For those of us that had the opportunity to know Bob, we are better athletic trainers because of him.

He was a great guy, hard working, intelligent, determined and patient.

One of the really neat and special pictures that we have taken was at a student athletic trainer banquet several years ago. It was a picture of the three former Head Athletic Trainers and me. I think of the history and knowledge and experience in that photo. Amazing.

Bob Nicolette…..1954-1969, Bob Behnke, 1969-1973, Skip Pickering, 1973-1983 and Al Martindale, 1983-to present

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