Williams sophomore running back and music major Joel Nicholas (Buffalo, N.Y.) closed out his first year at Williams running for 211 yards and scoring three touchdowns in the Ephs' 31-9 win over arch rival Amherst. Corralled for a live post-game interview by the NESN TV crew, the team-centered Nicholas would not do the interview until his offensive line joined him. Nicholas wanted to be sure he gave credit to the men who opened the holes for him.
"Joel has been a tremendous member of our team since the day he stepped on campus," Eph head coach Mark Raymond said, "His selfless attitude and commitment to the team was evident from the start. Joel brought to Williams a great attitude and a strong desire to help others. His work in the community has been a great example to all of us. As a football player Joel made a big impact as a player. He improved each week and became one of our most productive offensive players. I am sure his impact on and off the field will continue to grow."
This past spring Nicholas was a member of a COVID-19 Phone Call Response Team that consisted of 15 churches in the Buffalo area supporting The Buffalo Center for Health Equity inspired by his father, George, who is the Pastor at Lincoln Memorial Methodist Church. The Phone Call Response Team reaches out to assist residents in obtaining food, medications, COVID tests, and any other need folks might require such as a ride to a doctor's office. Now some 25 churches are involved and over 100,000 phone calls have been made.
Joel recently was put in charge of making deliveries to all of the churches in and around Erie County dropping off PPE, food, and whatever else the churches require to assist their members. "We just recently received 2.7 million dollars to continue this program until December and that is also a big part of why I'm doing this semester remotely," Joel stated.
"My decision to enroll remotely was very last minute," Nicholas added. "I was planning on returning to campus, but changed my mind when I noticed large COVID-19 outbreaks happening on other campuses. Although I have faith that our Williams family will be able to keep everyone safe, I felt that it was important not to take any chances. Also with me being a musician and football player, not having a weight room nor a recording studio open this semester limits what I am able to do on campus."
"My favorite part of being a member of the 2019 Williams football team was being with a group of guys that wanted to work as hard and win just as much as I did," Nicholas noted. "There wasn't one day this past season that was a waste of time. Every day had purpose and every day played a part in finishing the season the way we did. Now that we have a good formula, it is the time to tweak it so that it's as efficient as it possibly can be, 9-0."
"I plan to stay in shape by doing the body weight exercises that our team sends us. I also like running hills and is a great was to stay in shape. This time off has given me some time to be more in tune with my body. By slowing down and listening to my body, I was able to find more of my weaknesses. Now I have a whole year to strengthen those weaknesses to be the best version of myself that I can be."