In little over three seasons as head coach at Southwest, 2016 TCCAA Coach of the Year Jerry Nichols has led the Saluqis to a 100-23 record and NJCAA national rankings in his Southwest tenure. In the 2016 season, the Saluqis had an outstanding 30-5 record, were ranked number 11 in the NJCAA's Division 1 final regular season poll and finished in the Elite Eight of the NJCAA Division 1 National Tournament. As of November 2017, he has an all-time record of 180-54.
Nichols, a four-time TCCAA Coach of the Year, was selected as a court coach for the USA Basketball U18 Junior National Team last summer. After training camp was held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the team played in the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Valdivia, Chile which featured eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
In 2013-14, his first season as head coach at Southwest, he guided the Saluqis to an outstanding 23-4 record and a number 13 ranking in the NJCAA Division 1 final regular season poll. Nichols followed that with a 24-4 record in 2014-15 and a number 11 ranking in the final poll. In his seven year head coaching career, he has compiled a 157-44 overall record and .781 winning percentage.
Nichols, a former Westwood High School standout and All-American guard at Walters State Community College, was head coach and athletic director at Motlow State Community College prior to coming to Southwest.
Nichols played college basketball at Walters State and Arkansas State University. After his playing career ended, Nichols was an assistant coach first at Walters State and then Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, before accepting the head coach position at Motlow State in 2009. Nichols coached Motlow State for four seasons, leading them to a 26-4 record, the TCCAA championship and a berth in the NJCAA national tournament in 2012-13. He compiled an outstanding 80-31 overall record at Motlow State and was twice named TCCAA Coach of the Year.
As a player at Walters State, Nichols was named First Team NJCAA All-American and TCCAA Player of the Year as both a freshman and sophomore. As a sophomore, he ranked ninth in the nation in scoring with a 21.6 average. Nichols continued his education and playing career at ASU, where he led the team in three-point shooting and was named the team’s top defensive player during his junior season. In addition, he was the recipient of ASU’s Leadership Award as a senior.