Softball coach Nichols gets promotion

Stacey Nichols has been promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach for USF softball, Senior Associate Athletics Director Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy announced Wednesday.

Nichols has been the first assistant for the Bulls since 1997, the year that Ken Eriksen took over as head coach.

Eriksen and Nichols have posted a combined record of 259-153-1 in the six seasons since then, including NCAA appearances in 1997, 1998 and 2001. The 2002 season was their only year below .500 (24-33-1).

“Stacey has been an integral part of our team’s success over the past six seasons,” Eriksen said. “She provides outstanding input regarding all of our coaching decisions, both during games and at practices. She’s simply a tremendous asset to our program.”

Eriksen said Nichols’ role, which includes overseeing recruiting and academics, will not change significantly with the promotion. But he said the new title signifies that she will be virtually equal to him in terms of authority when he is not present.

“She has basically solidified her position as the person who’s going to be with me. … I hope she never leaves,” Eriksen said.

Nichols started coaching in 1994 as an assistant at Hofstra, one year after graduating from Massachusetts with a degree in sports management. She returned to UMass and served as an assistant in 1995-96, earning a master’s in higher education administration in 1996.

As a player, Nichols led UMass to four Atlantic 10 conference titles and two NCAA Regional appearances. She helped the Minutemen earn a third-place finish in the College World Series in 1992 and capped her career in 1993 by garnering All-Atlantic 10 and All-Academic Atlantic 10 honors.