June 26, 2014
RUSTON - Two days after filling one vacant assisting coaching position, Louisiana Tech men's basketball head coach Michael White quickly found himself having to fill another.
"Darris is a very talented young coach with a tremendous future ahead of him," said White. "We are fortunate to have him join our program on his journey to become a head coach one day. He was an excellent player in a great league, and he's been able to draw on those experiences to help West Virginia, Northern Kentucky, and Wofford have great success.
"Having a complete staff again is an exciting feeling. We are a well-rounded group with various backgrounds, philosophies, and ideas. Most importantly, we share an eagerness to get our guys back to campus and get to work."
In one season with the Terriors, Nichols helped guide the team who was picked to finish sixth in the league by the coaches to a 20-win season and a Southern Conference championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Throughout the season, he helped develop freshman Eric Garcia who was selected to the All-Rookie team and led the conference in assist-turnover ratio. As a whole, the Terriors led the SoCon in assist-turnover ratio, defense field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage.
"I am excited and grateful for this opportunity to represent Louisiana Tech University," said Nichols. "Coach White has done a tremendous job building the program into a mid-major powerhouse. I look forward to helping shape our student-athletes into impressive young men on and off the court."
In 2012-13, Nichols was the defensive coordinator and the squad ended up finishing second in the Atlantic sun in scoring defense en route to being two games shy of tying the record for most wins ever by a Division I transitional team. In the process, Nichols developed Eshaunte Jones who was named Atlantic Sun all-conference first team.
In his first year, the team went 23-7, tying the school record for best start in school history (13-0) along the way, and participated in the Division II Tournament. The guards, coached by Nichols, led the GLVC conference in three-point field goal percentage and three-point field goals made.
Nichols, a native of Radford, Va., was a four-year letterman at West Virginia as a point guard for legendary head coaches Bob Huggins and John Beilein.
Playing in one of the toughest conferences in the country in the Big East, Nichols shined as a player. He led the Mountaineers his senior year to a 26-11 record and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Along the way he averaged 10.7 points per game as well as 3.2 assists per game.
He was also a member of the 2007 NIT Championship, 2006 Sweet 16 and 2005 Elite Eight teams and finished his collegiate career as a top five most winningest player in Mountaineer history.
As a junior in 2007, Nichols dished out 4.6 assists per contest and averaged 10.9 points per game as WVU posted a 27-9 record. He led the Big East in assist-to-turnover ratio and was named to the NIT All-Tournament Team. The team reached the finals of the NIT against Clemson after he hit the game-winning three-pointer in the semifinals versus Mississippi State.
Nichols was also twice a recipient of the Big East Academic All-Star and Sportsmanship Award and earned the 2008 Fred Schaus Captain Award for WVU intercollegiate athletics.
After graduation, he played professionally overseas with Atomeromu SE Paks of the Hungarian League's A Division. He returned to serve as a graduate assistant at his alma mater for one season with the responsibilities of developing scouting reports and coordinating summer basketball camps.
Nichols earned his bachelor's degree from WVU in sociology.
His hiring is pending the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
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