Bayou Classic founder honored


To much of the world he was known as “The Man with the Golden Pen.” People around Grambling State University knew him as “Nic.” Collie J. Nicholson, the man some credit with making Grambling a household name and starting the highly anticipated Bayou Classic, recently had an alumni chapter named after him. 

“Our goal for the Collie J. Nicholson Chapter of Grambling University National Alumni Association is to make Grambling visible in the North Dallas area,” said Kimberly Page, president of the chapter that was founded in October 2009. 

“After reading the contributions that Nicholson made to Grambling, it was apparent that we had parallel visions with his being on a higher spectrum. “Ophelia Nicholson was pleased to hear that the chapter had been named after her husband, who died in 2006. 

“Collie J. played an integral part in branding the name Grambling State University by his promotions and publicity,” said Nicholson, who lives in Shreveport.

 “Acts like this will keep his legacy visible for future Gramblinites to know. Never forget those who helped to make GSU a household word.”

 Honoree “Nic” began his legacy with Grambling in 1947, working for more than 30 years as the university’s sports information director and as the director of publications, until he retired in 1978.

During his time with the university, Nicholson made sure people knew where Grambling was, and what was going on at what was then known as Grambling College 

He set up games for the football team, games that many thought would be impossible. The historic games played in Japan and at Yankee Stadium in New York City were due to Nicholson’s diligence. He was instrumental in organizing the first televised performance of the school’s marching band, which helped brand the band as the “World Famed Marching at the 1964 American League National Football Championship game. 

“If it was not for Collie G. Nicholson having the contacts he had, you probably would have never seen the Grambling band being televised at that time,” stated Edwin Thomas, an assistant band director and associate professor of industrial and engineering technology. 

“We might not even be what we are today if it wasn’t for him.” 

Some say Nicholson was ahead of his time. With all of today’s technology, getting information out to the mass media takes only a few clicks. However, without today’s tools, Nicholson told Grambling’s story across the nation and elsewhere in the world. One of the greatest things he did was start the Bayou Classic in 1974. 

The Bayou Classic, a football game that continues this fall in the Louisiana Super Dome. The game is televised annually by NBC every last Saturday in November, just two days after Thanksgiving.

“Growing up, anybody who knew anything about Grambling knew that Collie J. Nicholson put GSU on the map,” Jon Moss, a Grambling alum who manages the state-owned Eddie G. Robinson Museum on the university’s campus.

In a fitting tribute to the chapter’s namesake, the North Dallas chapter is hosting its annual Bayou Classic Watch Party/World AIDS Day event on November 24th at Dodie’s Cajun Restaurant (4812 Belt Line Road, Addison 75254) starting at noon. 

Those interested in the chapter or its watch party can contact Page at