Having two players named as All-American talents is a special accomplishment for any coach to behold.
But adding WBCA Coach of the Year honors on top of that? Well, that’s just icing on the cake.
On Tuesday evening, Shawnee State women’s basketball coach Jeff Nickel was named as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year, while Madison Ridout and Hannah Miller were named as First-Team All-WBCA and Honorable Mention WBCA All-Americans, respectively, in a ceremony that was held in Billings, Mont. before the start of the NAIA Division I National Tournament.
Ridout, who was named as a First-Team All-American according to the WBCA, has notched a team-best 14.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in 2017-18. The senior from Jackson also averaged 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals per contest for the Bears during regular season and conference play. Miller, who garnered Honorable Mention WBCA accolades, obtained 14.4 points, four rebounds, 2.4 assists, and one steal in 2017-18. The junior came up big in the clutch time and time again, especially in the final regular season and MSC Tournament Championship bouts against Campbellsville, to seal the deal for the Bears as SSU has won 25 straight games — and counting.
“They’re good people and they’re great teammates,” Nickel said. “They’re kids that are very selfless, play the game the right way, and play the game for the right reasons. I’m just very, very happy for them because I know how hard they’ve worked, both on and off of the court, as well as in their community to not only be good players, but to be good people. Their success on the court is going to definitely translate in their future careers, and I’m really happy for them. They’ve been consistent from the day that I’ve met them. “They both have come in, worked really hard, been extremely coachable, and have done everything that our staff has asked them to do without hesitation. Their success is a byproduct of the choices that they have made and the things that they do every day.”
Nickel, who is in his fifth season as the head coach of the Shawnee State women’s basketball program, is 140-43 at the helm of the Bears. This past season was the school’s three consecutive Mid-South Conference Regular Season Championship and its fourth consecutive Mid-South Conference Tournament Championship under the South Shore, Ky. native.
“It’s a great honor to be the WBCA Regional Coach of the Year in the NAIA,” Nickel said. “Anytime you receive an award like that, there’s a lot of other people who have played a part in that. I’ve got a great staff and work for a great institution that helps me get the resources that I need to compete at a high level. I’m very fortunate. I didn’t get this honor alone. Parents, grandparents, family, friends, and the former and current players have as much to do with this as anybody. They’ve all helped to elevate our program, and our current players have taken that to another step. Anytime you get honored for something like this, it’s a byproduct of not only the decisions you make as a coach and as a staff, but the decisions that your players make. I’m very blessed and very fortunate to receive that honor.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT