Fourth Season (27-15 Duals)
After leading the Mavs to their third-straight third-place conference finish and first trip to the NCAA tournament, Bill Nichols’ fourth season as head coach of the University of Nebraska-Omaha women’s tennis program promises to be his best so far. After North Dakota knocked off 11-year North Central Conference champion Northern Colorado in last year’s tournament and the Mavs finished third, this year’s NCC title is up for grabs with UNC’s move to Division I.
Last year’s 10-5 dual season started off with five straight wins and featured a victory over NCC champ UND to give the Mavs their first NCAA tournament berth. With Nichols returning his top No. 1 and No. 2 players, the Mavericks will look to add to last year’s record win total of ten and make a trip back to the national tournamant.
Sarah Batchelor will return as the No. 1 player after going 4-6 in that spot and gaining wins over NCAA tournament teams UND and Washburn last year. Anna Ristic and top No. 2 player Sarah Huls led the team with eight wins each last year and will look to fill in the other top spots for the Mavs this year.
Nichols, a former Wichita State tennis standout, came to UNO after 12 successful seasons as the head men’s coach at WSU. Nichols, Wichita State’s winningest tennis coach with 157 victories, led the Shockers to five Missouri Valley Conference team championships. He also won four conference Coach-of-the-Year honors.
Four of Nichols’ former student-athletes have been ranked among the top 100 players in the world, including two-time Valley doubles champ Andy Castle, the former No. 1 ranked tennis player in England. In addition, Nichols coached Castle at the 1987 Wimbledon Championships in England.
Nichols, who graduated from Wichita State in 1980 with a liberal arts degree, began his collegiate tennis career at Central Texas Junior College, where he earned All-America honors with a second-place performance in the singles bracket, and led Central Texas to the NJCAA championship. Then, in the fall of 1977, he transferred to Wichita State, where he captured five Valley titles--three singles and two doubles--and played a key role in the Shockers’ drive toward national and conference prominence during his three seasons.
Also in his three years, Nichols twice played on top-20 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tennis Tournament. Nichols’ arrival as a sophomore also coincided with the beginning of Wichita State’s streak of 12-consecutive Valley Championships, a conference record.