Sam Nolt was a four-year varsity letterman on the soccer team in an era in which it was rare for an athlete to play four varsity seasons. While Nolt’s name is not amongst the Franklin & Marshall career leaders in goals, assists or points, it is universally agreed upon that a Franklin & Marshall Hall Of Fame would be incomplete without his inclusion.
Nolt’s soccer career was interrupted in the middle of his junior season by a devastating injury, which landed him in Lancaster General Hospital for three months. The injury, which was so severe that Nolt was forced to interrupt his college studies and withdraw for a semester, required an eight-month recuperation period. When Nolt was finally able to return for his senior campaign in 1960, he did so with a flourish. Incredibly, he was unable to run three weeks prior to the opening of soccer practice, but by season’s end, Nolt was selected First-Team All-Region and Second-Team All-Middle Atlantic Conference.
As further sign that Nolt’s broken right leg had healed he decided to go out for the tennis team in the spring of 1961. Nolt took part in singles play for the Diplomats in the fifth position and also played number two doubles.
Nolt was unquestionably an outstanding and skilled soccer player over his four-year career with the Diplomats. He was recognized for his excellence on the field and courageous play by being named a Second-Team All-MAC selection for 1960. He was further awarded First-Team honors by the prestigious National Soccer Coaches Association All Region Team. However, it is beyond what he was able to achieve on the field; the courage, dedication and perseverance he displayed in coming back from an injury that would have ended the career of most athletes is what we celebrate. As most aptly stated by his 1959 and 1960 teammate Bernie Rossini, who succeeded Nolt as team captain in 1961, the strong determination and spirit Nolt displayed were inspirational. “His enthusiasm and encouragement helped us to believe that we could win every game.”
Upon graduation from Franklin & Marshall, Nolt served in the U.S. military for two years as a Signal Corps instructor. He was employed by the J.L. Clark Manufacturing Company in Lancaster for 38 years and rose from sales trainee to Regional Sales Manager and Manager of National Accounts. He retired in 2001 and remains in Lancaster with his wife Joyce with whom he had two children and enjoys four grandchildren.