MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia coach Mike Carey announces the hiring of Chester Nichols as associate head coach on the Mountaineer women’s basketball staff.
Nichols previously spent six seasons with coach Carey and the Mountaineers as an assistant coach, from 2004-09, and returns to Morgantown after coaching stints at Central Florida, Big 12 foe Kansas and Michigan.
“I am really excited about having coach Nichols back with our staff,” says Carey. “He has worked for me in the past, and he’s not only a great coach and great recruiter, but a really good friend. He’s someone that I know loves West Virginia University and will be loyal to the state of West Virginia.”
Nichols will work with WVU’s post players, in addition to assisting in the recruiting efforts for the program.
"I am really excited about returning to West Virginia University and the Morgantown community,” says Nichols. “The six years that I spent here were a memorable experience for all of the players and coaches involved. The opportunity to work for one of the best head coaches in the country in Mike Carey really excites me.”
Nichols was a part of 42 wins in two seasons as assistant coach at Michigan. U-M completed the 2013-14 season with a 20-14 mark, making it to the third round of the WNIT. It was just the sixth 20-win season in the history of the program.
Nichols helped Michigan to one of its most successful seasons in program history during his first season in 2012-13, as the Wolverines tied program records for wins (22) and consecutive wins (10), and made just their third second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Nichols worked with the post players, helping seniors Rachel Sheffer and Nya Jordan earn All-Big Ten honorable mention.
Nichols joined Michigan’s staff after spending two seasons with the University of Kansas women's basketball program as the perimeter coach, while assisting in the program's recruiting efforts.
In two seasons with the Jayhawks, Nichols helped KU to a combined 42-26 overall record while making postseason appearances in the WNIT (2011) and NCAA (2012) Tournaments. During the 2012 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, KU advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1998 and the third time in program history.
Nichols arrived in Lawrence, Kan., after spending the 2009-10 season at Central Florida, where he served in a similar role with the Knights, while serving as the recruiting coordinator. That season, UCF's recruiting class was ranked No. 44 in the nation and No. 2 in Conference USA by ESPN's Hoopgurlz. Prior to his year at UCF, Nichols spent the previous six seasons as an assistant coach at West Virginia.
A native of Ocala, Fla., he is widely considered one of the nation's top recruiters, and he played an instrumental role in bringing five top-20 recruiting classes to WVU. Following the 2009-10 season, several of Nichols' WVU signees garnered all-conference honors.
During Nichols' tenure at WVU, the Mountaineers appeared in three NCAA Tournaments and advanced to the second round on two occasions. He also helped guide West Virginia to the championship game of the WNIT in 2005 and to the Big East Championship game in 2006. At WVU, Nichols helped sign five top-20 classes, which included eight All-Big East performers, a Big East Most Improved honor and a Big East Defensive Player of the Year.
In the summer of 2008, Nichols was recognized as one of the nation's best assistant coaches by earning an invitation to Nike's prestigious Villa 7 Coaches Consortium in Beaverton, Ore. Additionally, four players that Nichols signed or coached moved on to play professionally in the WNBA.
Prior to his time at WVU, Nichols worked with the Adidas/Premier Players, an AAU organization in Ocala. He spent one season as the head coach of the Florida Starzz and chief evaluator of the Rookie Sensations.
Nichols also has worked as an assistant coach at Central Florida Community College, where he helped coach one NJCAA All-American and three Mid-Florida all-conference players.
Nichols is a 1997 graduate of Greenville College, where he played three seasons of varsity football while pursuing his degree in special education.
Nichols joins assistant coaches Lester Rowe and Sharrona Reaves on WVU’s coaching staff. Assistant coach Ken Griffin left the coaching staff to pursue other opportunities.