Jeff Nickel has been appointed head coach of Shawnee State University’s Women’s Basketball Team after serving as interim head coach for the 2013-14 season following the retirement of Coach Robin Hagen-Smith who led the SSU Bears for 30 years.
“Our women’s basketball program has a long-standing tradition of excellence and we look to Jeff to continue that tradition,” Jeff Hamilton, SSU Athletic Director, said. “Jeff’s dedication to this team and our student athletes over the years has helped to advance our program. His ability to recruit and bring top-level talent to Shawnee State is critical to our continued success.”
Nickel served as assistant coach for four seasons prior to taking over as interim coach. During this past season, he led the women’s team to the NAIA Sweet Sixteen and coached the 2014 Mid-South Conference Player of the Year, 3 NAIA All-Americans, and 3 First Team All Mid-South players.
“I’m extremely honored and very excited about this opportunity,” Nickel said. “To coach at my alma mater means a great deal to me and I thank the university for having the confidence in me to continue moving this program forward.”
Over the course of Nickel’s career with Shawnee State, the women’s team advanced to the NAIA Division II championship game in 2009-10. The following season, SSU moved to the Mid-South Conference and NAIA Division I and went back to the Fab Four that year. In the previous two seasons, the Bears advanced to the NAIA Second round. As an assistant, Nickel’s responsibilities included recruiting, scouting, walk-through and individual workouts.
Prior to Shawnee State, Nickel spent one season as head coach at Greenup County High School. He went 17-10 in his only season and amassed the best regular season in 11 years at GCHS. He also spent two seasons as the Head Girls’ Basketball Coach at Portsmouth High School. While at Portsmouth, he helped develop the Portsmouth Girls Youth Basketball League. Nickel has also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Clay High School, compiling a league championship, three sectional titles and two district finals appearances.
Nickel began his basketball career at Greenup County High School under Coach Randy Ward. While at GCHS he was a member of three 63rd district championships, two 16th Region semifinal teams and one 16th Region runner-up team. He graduated from GCHS in 2000.
Nickel received his bachelor’s degree from Shawnee State University in 2005 and holds a Grade 7-12 Integrated Social Studies Teaching license. In 2011, he received his master’s degree in Athletic Administration/Coaching from Concordia University-Irvine, California. He resides in South Shore, Kentucky.
“We are extremely excited about the future of women’s basketball and believe Jeff will do a fantastic job leading the program,” Hamilton concluded.