Patrick Nicholas named UNCG volleyball head coach
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro Interim Director of Athletics Rod Wyatt introduced Patrick Nicholas as the Spartans' new volleyball head coach on Thursday.
Nicholas becomes just the sixth head coach in the program's last 30 years. This will be his third tenure as a women's head coach having served as the women's head coach at Lehigh and Troy. In eight seasons as a head coach of women's intercollegiate volleyball, he is 130-110. Nicholas was chosen from a pool of nearly 60 applicants.
"We think Patrick is the right person to continue the development of our volleyball program and move us in the direction we want all of our programs to go," Wyatt said. "Patrick has the personality to not only engage our campus community, but also the greater Greensboro community and garner support for the program. He believes in our mission and is committed to our student-athletes' success both in the classroom and on the court. He is a quality person and coach."
Nicholas, 49, replaces former head coach Shawn Garus, who left the UNCG volleyball program on June 30 to accept the head coach's position at Boise State University. Garus compiled a 71-64 record in four seasons at the helm, including three consecutive 20-win seasons in the past three years – the first time the program has done that since it began UNCG's Division I era with five-straight 20 win seasons from 1991-95. Garus also led the Spartans to their first win in the Southern Conference Championship since joining the league in 1997 and consecutive appearances in the tournament's title match in 2006 and 2007.
"I'm very excited and honored to lead the UNCG women's volleyball program," Nicholas said. "I am very impressed with the commitment that the university, athletic department and especially Chancellor Linda Brady have made toward fostering a winning atmosphere. I am looking forward to getting started and ready to start training with the student-athletes. I would also like to thank Rod Wyatt, (UNCG Senior Women's Administrator) Cathy Roberts as well as (Marshall head coach) Mitch Jacobs for giving me this tremendous opportunity."
Nicholas arrives at UNCG after serving the past two seasons as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Marshall University. While at Marshall, Nicholas helped lead the Thundering Herd to a 35-23 overall record in those two seasons, including a 22-8 mark in 2007. Marshall won the Conference USA regular-season championship with a 15-1 league record that season. He also helped mold three student-athletes into American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans.
"We've lost a lot of experience off of our staff today," Jacobs said. "Patrick is going to be very hard to replace in terms of finding another coach who has a great mind to break down our opponents. The next person in his position is going to have big shoes to fill. While it is our loss, clearly it is UNCG's gain."
Nicholas has had two previous stints as a women's head coach on the collegiate level at Troy University and Lehigh University. He received his first women's head coaching job at Lehigh, where he coached from 1997-2003. He led the Mountain Hawks to a 121-92 record in his seven seasons and was the first coach in school history to lead the program to seven consecutive winning seasons. While at Lehigh, he won the Patriot League tournament championship in 1997. He also had a total of 16 student-athletes named All-Patriot League.
After leaving Lehigh as the school's all-time leader in wins, Nicholas went on to coach at Troy for the 2004 season. Nicholas left the program after that season to open his own volleyball training center. He owned and operated the High Performance Training Volleyball School in Austin, Texas.
He also served as the men's head coach for Navy's program from 1986-90 while serving as an officer and instructor at the Naval Academy. Nicholas was named the EIVA Coach of the Year on the men's side in 1989. When he took over as head coach prior to the 1986 season, he led the squad to its first-ever top-20 finish, and his teams continued to finish in the top 20 throughout his tenure there.
As well as being a head coach, Nicholas has served as an
assistant coach for many nationally recognized
programs. He coached at Ohio State (1995-97), Purdue (1994-95), Navy (1992-94) and George Mason (1984-85). While at George Mason, Nicholas helped coach the team to back-to-back final four appearances where they won the third-place match both seasons. At Ohio State, he helped the Buckeyes to back-to-back Round of 16 appearances in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship.
In addition to intercollegiate coaching, Nicholas has a wealth of experience coaching several national and club programs around the nation. In 1990, he was the head coach for the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival Team that earned a bronze medal. He later went on to be an assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Team from 1993-94. After that, he coached the San Diego Spikers of the NVA women's professional league and led them to the league championship.
While also coaching at Lehigh, Nicholas was the head coach of the United States 14 and under National Team from 1997-2000. He served as the on-site director, coordinator and evaluator at the national tryouts for the USA girl's junior, youth and 14 and under teams from 1997-2004. He was also an assistant coach for the USA Women's National A-2 Team in 1999 and 2001. He was the head coach of Club Annapolis that won a gold medal at the 1990 U.S. Open Championships and a silver medal in 1997.
Nicholas earned his bachelor's degree in 1986 in parks, recreation and leisure studies from George Mason, where he was a member of the men's volleyball team in 1983.
Nicholas helped George Mason's men's program earn its first-ever top-10 national ranking and first-ever trip to the finals of the conference tournament in school history. Upon his graduation, Nicholas played for the Washington Volleyball Club and won a bronze medal at the U.S. Open Championships in 1987.
Nicholas will get to work quickly. The Spartans open preseason practice on Aug. 10. The season opener is Aug. 28 against Liberty in the opening match of the Hokie Invitational, hosted by Virginia Tech. Nicholas will get to face his now-former squad when the Thundering Herd visits UNCG on Sept. 9 in the Spartans' home opener.
What they're saying:
"I am confident that Patrick will bring another level to the UNC Greensboro volleyball program. His knowledge, skill and experience that he possesses will take the program to the next level. He is one of the finest teachers of the game in the USA. Patrick has a great understanding of today's student-athlete, and has demonstrated over time his ability to leverage it into success in the classroom and on the field of play."
Bob Gambardella, Former USA Volleyball National Team Director
"Patrick is one of the best coaches in the country. Not just one of the best assistant coaches, but one of the best coaches. Patrick knows the game very well, is a great teacher and communicator and a top recruiter. I have no doubt that UNC Greensboro will benefit from Patrick being the head coach. The strides in success on the court will be immediate."
Jim Stone, Former head coach of national powerhouse Ohio State
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