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In just two short seasons, Kevin Nicholls has made it apparent that he is a rising star amongst mid-major women's college basketball assistant coaches. Now in his third year at USC Upstate, Nicholls is active in all parts of the program, including serving as the recruiting coordinator and also helping with scheduling. In addition, Nicholls focuses on coaching Upstate's post players.
In his second year as the recruiting coordinator at Upstate, Nicholls secured a group that included three of All-Star Girls' Basketball Report's Top 1,000 players, helping to ensure that Upstate will continue to grow into a contender in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
In his first full year as the recruiting coordinator, Nicholls helped to secure two All-State selections and two Junior College All-Conference players. The seven-member recruiting class helped redefine the Spartans in 2008-09, taking the team from five wins in its first year as a Division I program to 13 wins in its second season. The team's five-place and seven-win jump in the A-Sun was the fifth-best turnaround in league history.
As the primary coach of the post players, Nicholls helped mold Chelsea McMillan into a force in the post for Upstate. McMillan, in her first year at Upstate, finished 10th in the A-Sun in scoring and third in rebounding.
Nicholls comes to Upstate after serving as an assistant coach at North Greenville University from 1999-2007. He started as a student assistant coach while earning his undergraduate degree in sports management at the school. He graduated in 2002 and stayed on with the program. He was the recruiting coordinator and was intricately involved in all phases of the program, including planning practice schedules, scheduling games, keeping statistics and assisting with the maintenance of the budget.
While at North Greenville, Nicholls worked with the post players, coaching 2005 grad Earlana Jackson to the school's all-time scoring record. She is the only player in school history to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds and was a two-time NCCAA All-American.
He took a brief break from coaching at North Greenville from 2002-03 while he spent the season as an administrative intern with the University of Virginia's women's basketball program. During that one season, Nicholls was a part of the Cavaliers' two upset wins over teams ranked in the nation's top 25, including eighth-ranked North Carolina. The Cavaliers made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, finishing 17-14. He got his coaching start as the boys' basketball coach at the Oakland School.
A native of Troy, Va., Nicholls attended Piedmont Virginia Community College and Radford University before transferring to North Greenville to finish his education. He has also worked as a mental health associate at the Spring Brook Behavioral Center and as a lifeguard at Pleasant Ridge Park. He is married to the former Rachael Heisler and the couple resides in Travelers Rest, S.C.
The Nicholls File