Dave Nichols, who enters his sixth season as the Head Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University, has enjoyed 17 years of success as a collegiate volleyball coach. Nichols has registered an impressive 361-163 (.689) record in his career.
In addition to the team success that FGCU has achieved under Nichols’ direction, the Eagles have also garnered multiple individual awards during his short time with the Blue and Green.
Setter Roberta Santos and outside hitter Ana Kokanvic, two of the best players in program history, earned first team All-Atlantic Sun honors in their senior campaign (2008) under Nichols. This past season, outside hitter Jill Hopper and middle blocker Kaitlin Holm secured spots on the All-Conference first team.
In five seasons at the helm of the Eagles, Nichols has had nine All-Atlantic Sun selections (five first team), four conference Freshmen Team honorees and two Academic All-District selections (Holly Youngquist; 2011 second team - Gigi Meyer; 2012 first team).
Nichols led the 2012 edition of the Eagles to a 22-10 record (16-2 A-Sun), their third regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the A-Sun Tournament. During the campaign, FGCU swept 10 conference opponents and won 15 consecutive matches to help Nichols earn his first career A-Sun Coach of the Year honor. The Eagles’ 15-match winning streak is the longest streak in the program’s Division I history and is also the third longest streak in the FGCU record books.
2011 saw Nichols’ and his squad rebound from a difficult 2010 season as FGCU earned a berth to the A-Sun conference tournament for the second time in school history. The Green and Blue, led by Freshman of the Year Jill Hopper, finished the season with an 18-13 overall record and 10-3 in conference play. FGCU, the No. 3 seed, then defeated UNF 3-1 in the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual A-Sun Champ Lipscomb in four sets.
In 2009, Nichols and the Eagles posted a 15-5 conference record, to secure the No. 3 seed in the 2009 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championships. In the program’s first conference tournament since making the move to Division I, the Blue and Green defeated No. 6 Campbell and No. 2 Jacksonville, before falling No. 1 Lipscomb in the championship match.
In his first season with the Eagles, Nichols led FGCU to the 2008 Regular Season Atlantic Sun Championship with a 20-8 overall record and an 18-2 conference record. His guidance led to a pair of First Team All-Conference selections and a All-Freshman team selection.
Nichols was one of the premier coaches in NCAA Division II as he won two national championships and finished as the national runner-up once. He guided teams to three Sunshine State Conference titles and 11 trips to the NCAA tournament in 12 years as a head coach at Barry. Nichols was named National Coach of the Year in 2001 after guiding Barry to the national championship with a 32-2 record.
In his second season at Barry, he led the Buccaneers to their third trip to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in 1997 where they eventually lost to West Texas A&M in the championship match. That season, the Bucs finished with a 28-5 record.
In 2001, Nichols and the Bucs would go on to capture the school’s second national championship with a 32-2 record. The Bucs were dominant in the Elite Eight, losing only one game in three matches, as four players were named to the All-Elite Eight Tournament team.
In 2003, Barry set an NCAA Division II record with 55 consecutive games won. The Bucs finished that season with a 24-4 record and a Sunshine State Conference championship.
In 2004, Barry captured their third national championship (second under Nichols) with a 34-1 record. That season, the Bucs became the only team to defeat FGCU in Alico Arena. The Bucs finished the season with 33 consecutive wins, going five games only one time during the season.
In his 12 seasons at Barry, Nichols coached 13 AVCA All-Americans, five Volleyball Monthly All-Americans, four Daktronics, Inc., All-Americans and three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. He also helped develop 29 AVCA All-Region selections and 40 All-Sunshine State Conference selections as well. Nichols was named SSC Coach of the Year three times (2001, 2003, and 2004) as well as the AVCA South Region Coach of the Year in 1997, 2001 and 2004.
Prior to Barry, Nichols was an assistant at Arizona State where he helped lead the Sun Devils to their most successful season in program history finishing the year ranked #10 in the nation. He was also an assistant at Cal from 1988-92, and helped lead the Bears to the post season on three occasions.
Nichols, a native of southern California, grew up playing volleyball on the beach with the likes of Ron Von Hagen, Greg Lee, and Wilt Chamberlain. He graduated from UCLA in 1976 after helping the team win three national championships. Nichols enjoyed a successful professional career before beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Bruins, where he tutored volleyball legend Karch Kiraly .
The Nichols File
• Italy - Gioai Del Colle, 1983
• Professional Beach Tour, 1978-82
• UCLA, 1974-76
• Head Coach, FGCU, 2008-Present
• Head Coach, Barry, 1996-2007
• Assistant Coach, Arizona State, 1995
• Head Coach, San Jose Storm (PVL), 1993-94
• Assistant Coach, California, 1989-92
• Graduate Assistant, UCLA, 1977-78
• Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year (‘01, ‘03, ‘04)
• Volleyball Monthly Nat’l Coach of the Year (‘01)
• AVCA South Region Coach of the Year (‘97, ‘01, ‘04)
• A-Sun Coach of the Year (‘12)
Nichols’ Career Year-by-year
Total: 361-163 (.689) in 17 seasons
At Barry: 276-100 (.734)/12 seasons
||28-5 (SSC Co-Chmaps/Div. II Runner-Up)
||32-2 (SSC Co-Champs/Div. II Nat'l Champs)
||34-1 (SSC Champs/Div. II Nat'l Champs)
At FGCU: 85-63 (.574)/5 seasons
||20-8, 18-2 (A-Sun Regular Season Champs)
||18-13, 15-5 A-Sun (A-Sun Tournament Finalist)
||7-19, 3-7 A-Sun
||18-13, 10-3 A-Sun (A-Sun Tournament Semifinalist)
||22-10, 16-2 A-Sun (A-Sun Tournament Semifinalist)