Former West Virginia point guard Darris Nichols has been named the head coach for the Radford men’s basketball team, the school announced Wednesday.
— Radford Men's Basketball (@RadfordMBB) April 21, 2021
The Radford, Va. native was a four-year contributor for the Mountaineers from 2004-2008. In his first two seasons, Nichols averaged three points per game off the bench for then-WVU coach John Beilein. As a junior in 2006-07, he averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 assists per game as the Mountaineers’ starting point guard.
During his introductory press conference at Radford Wednesday afternoon, Nichols talked about what lessons he learned from the coaches in his career.
“John Beilein is an incredible storyteller,” Nicholas said. “Everything we had done, every offense, every play we ran, there was a story behind it. So it stuck with me, it stuck with me to this day.”
Nichols was also Bob Huggins’s first point guard at WVU when he became the head coach for the 2007-08 season. That year, Nichols averaged 10.7 points and 3.2 assists per game as the Mountaineers made it to the 2008 Sweet Sixteen.
“Just how relentless he is on you every day,” Nichols said about Huggins. “He’s going to push you to the limit and he’s going to get more out of you than you thought you had.”
Nichols served as a graduate assistant coach for Huggins at WVU from 2010-11. He then made stops as an assistant coach at Norther Kentucky (2011-13), Wofford (2013-14), Louisiana Tech (2014-15) and most recently Florida (2015-2021).
Before the Mountaineers and Gators played each other last season, Huggins was very complimentary of his former player.
“He was a coach on the floor,” Huggins said of Nichols in January. “His understanding of the game and how to play it, Darris was like a quarterback on our team. He got the ball where it was supposed to go, when it was supposed to get there.
“We played a lot of different defenses back then and Darris was the guy who really helped get people where they were supposed to be,” Huggins said “He had a great understanding of what we needed done.”
UF ended up defeating West Virginia 85-80 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Nichols spent six seasons as an assistant at Florida with head coach Mike White before accepting the job at Radford, his first head coaching position.
Radford went 15-21 (12-6 Big South) during the 2020-21 season. Former head coach Mike Jones accepted the head coaching job at UNC Greensboro. The UNGC job was open because former coach Wes Miller took the coaching job at Cincinnati, a position WVU assistant coach Erik Martin was a candidate for.
This story has been updated with quotes from Darris Nichols’s introductory press conference.