Lister was an accomplished athlete in both lacrosse and basketball. In 1966, he earned the John R. Molder Trophy as Loyola's outstanding male senior athlete. As a forward on the basketball team from 1961-66, Lister scored 716 points. The captain of Loyola's 1965 team, Lister averaged 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while leading Loyola to a 15-10 record and a second-place finish in the Mason-Dixon Conference. He never played lacrosse before his sophomore season, but became a Greyhound standout, serving as team captain his senior year. Lister was chosen to play for the South team in the college all-star game, and he earned All-South, All-Maryland, and All-Mason Dixon Conference honors in 1966.