Albert “Ab” Nicholas was many things to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a generous man, whose philanthropy towards the university would be very tough to match. He was a former Badger basketball player who was an All-American and a two-time All-Big Ten performer. He is a member of the UW Athletics Hall of Fame. Overall, he was, and still is, a UW-Madison icon, whose name and legacy will now be remembered by all.
During halftime of the Badgers drubbing over the Ohio State Buckeyes, the program showed a touching tribute video to Nicholas on the jumbotron.
As the lights were dimmed to show the video, all eyes watched as many familiar Badger faces thanked Nicholas for his contributions to the program. Devin Harris, Bo Ryan, Greg Gard, among others, all had taped messages for the occasion.
Barry Alvarez said in the tribute, “When I think of Ab, I think of a true Badger.”
At the end of the tribute, it was revealed that the Kohl Center floor will be known as “Ab Nicholas Court,” and his signature will be on the floor.
In 2015, Nicholas and his family donated 50 million dollars to UW-Madison for scholarships. Nicholas graduated from UW-Madison in 1952 with an economics degree, and has been a key member of UW-Madison’s Business School. He donated money to Grainger Hall, and Nancy Nicholas Hall is named after his wife, because of their contributions to the School of Human Ecology.
During the pre-game shootaround, all of the players wore warm-ups that had Nicholas’s name on the back, and his collegiate jersey number, 8.
“I know how Ab was such a fan obviously of this University,” Greg Gard said postgame of Nicholas. “Every time I talked to him last year specifically during the transition he would call. He would call more when we got beat more than we won, always offering words of encouragement. The glass was always half full with Ab. He always saw things in such a positive light. He loved this place. He always talked about his time here as a student.”