Nichols Making Name for Himself as Coach

When Darris Nichols was a player for West Virginia, he was known for his ability to be a successful game manager.

During that time he made his name as one of the best point guards in school history, and he did it while playing for both John Beilein and Bob Huggins.

Now, a handful years after he left West Virginia, Nichols has made the move into the coaching profession himself - currently serving as an assistant coach at Wofford.

"I was never the greatest athlete out there, and when that's the case you have to be smart and have a really good feel for the game," Nichols said. "That helps make the transition into doing this a little easier. A lot of point guards become very good coaches because of that. We're students of the game."

Although he doesn't think he necessarily pulls from one coach he played for more than the other, Nichols sees some similarities in what the two of them did that has helped them do as well as they have with their differing game plans. It's all about taking advantage of the possessions you get and make sure every time you have a chance to get points on the board, you make it count.

"I take bits and pieces from both of them, but the big thing I always took from them - it's really simple - but you have to find a way to get possessions," he said. "With Huggs, that's being physical and rebounding and playing great defense and with Coach Beilein it's about making your opponents turn the ball over."

The road to coaching wasn't one that Nichols always had intended on taking. Despite his father coaching high school basketball, he had always wanted to continue his playing career once his days at WVU were over with. But after suffering a knee injury while playing in Hungary, Nichols got a phone call from Huggins, and he had a decision to make.

After contemplating an offer for a month, he became a graduate assistant on Huggins' staff. He worked at WVU for two season before getting an offer to be an assistant at Northern Kentucky.

"It took a while for me to really figure out if I wanted to stop playing and get into coaching," he said. "It was the best decision that I've ever made, other than coming to WVU. Huggs definitely helped me get my foot in the door."

The move to Wofford has been a good one for Nichols. In his first year on the coaching staff last season, Wofford was a No. 15 seed in the NCAA tournament after winning its conference tournament and lost to Beilein's Michigan team in the Round of 64.

As he has started to rise through the ranks over the last few years, there have been a number of things. But the one thing he enjoys most about the job has been the recruiting aspect of it.

Being able to get into a kid's living room and relate to the things they are going through in the recruiting process has been something that makes him always remember how much he loves the game and what it gave him the chances to do.

"That's probably one of the easier things because I wasn't too far removed from playing and being in their shoes," Nichols said. "When you have that, you can share experiences and relate with them more and it makes conversation easier."

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