Alumni Spotlight


Jack Nicklaus, Class of 1957, retired professional golfer who won 18 career major championships

The Upper Arlington High School boys golf team with honoree Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus became the first inductee into the newly created Upper Arlington High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He shared these memories at the ceremony on April 19 at the Ohio State Golf Club.

Notable achievements at UAHS

Nicklaus had twice earned individual medalist honors at the state golf championships in 1956 and 1957 and led his team to win the state championship in 1956 and place third in 1957. He also won the Tri-State State High School Championship in 1957 and was the individual medalist with a score of 67.

As a sophomore, junior and senior, Nicklaus was selected as all-league in basketball, and he received honorable mention all-Ohio as a shooting guard his senior year.

“As I grew up in Arlington, something that was really special to me was that I got to play all sports,” Nicklaus recalled. “The school was big enough to compete but small enough that you got to be able to play everything or anything you wanted to play.”

The origin of the Golden Bear nickname

He recalled that in 1961, as he turned pro, he was looking for an emblem for his first contract with a sportswear company when an Australian reporter wrote an article referring to him as “a cuddly golden bear.”

“At that time I was a little taller and a little bigger, and so I came back and we went through all the different things that we might have for an emblem.  And finally I said, ‘Guys, come on. I’ve been a Golden Bear all my life. Why don’t I stay a Golden Bear?’

“I’ll always be a Golden Bear, and I’ll always be proud to be a Golden Bear — not only through my company but also through the schools.”

How did UA prepare him for success?

“Arlington was very special,” Nicklaus recalled. “We got a good education at Arlington. I know you still get a good education at Arlington.

“Arlington prepared us very well for college, prepared us for the what-ifs, and I enjoyed it.”

To view a video of the induction ceremony, please visit The Upper Arlington High School Athletic Department will share nomination guidelines later this year for the class of 2018 inductees.

Posted by Colleen Wright in alumni on Tuesday May, 16, 2017

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1950 North Mallway Drive
Upper Arlington, Ohio 43221
(614) 487-5000

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