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NCAAB: Radford hires local product Darris Nichols as coach

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Radford named local product Darris Nichols, most recently as assistant coach at Florida, as its new head coach on Wednesday.

Radford’s previous coach, Mike Jones, was hired Monday as the head coach at UNC Greensboro. Jones went 174-150 at Radford, leading the Highlanders to one NCAA Tournament appearance and two regular season titles in the Big South. Jones is the third-winningest coach in Radford history.

Nichols, who turns 35 next month, spent six seasons on the staff of Florida head coach Mike White. During that span, the Gators won at least 20 games four times and appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times.

This will be the first head coaching job for Nichols, who is a native of Radford, Va. He played at West Virginia and served as an assistant coach at Northern Kentucky, Wofford and Louisiana Tech before landing at Florida in 2015.

“Darris Nichols is a star,” Radford athletic director Robert Lineburg said. “He was an outstanding student-athlete at Radford High School and at West Virginia University. He has climbed the ranks as an assistant coach all the way to the University of Florida in the SEC. At each stop, he has made a tremendous impact. He has played for and worked with some of America’s best basketball coaches, which is so important. He is prepared and ready for this moment, and we are thrilled to welcome him home.”

Last May, ESPN ranked Nichols as one of the top 40 coaches and assistant coaches in college basketball under age 40.

Nichols’ hiring got the endorsement of John Beilein, who coached him at West Virginia.

“Darris Nichols is a rising star in the world of coaching college basketball,” said Beilein, who also coached Michigan and the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We have remained in close contact from the time he played for us at WVU. He has always had a thirst to learn the game and was one of the smartest players I ever coached. His recruiting skills are exceptional, and he will bring the right people to Radford.”

–Field Level Media

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