Jeff Nickel takes over the head coaching duties for the 2013-14 season, looking to continue the tradition of excellence established by NAIA Hall of Fame Coach Robin Hagen-Smith. Hagen-Smith coached the Bears for the past 30 seasons and amassed 637 NAIA victories which the most among active coaches at the time of her retirement. Nickel served as an assistant for the previous four seasons. This coming season will be his fifth overall at Shawnee State. In addition to four years as an assistant coach, he also served as interim head coach for six games during the 2012-13 season. He compiled a record of 5-1 during that time.
The Bears have experienced great success in Nickel’s first four seasons. In his first year as an assistant coach, SSU advanced to the NAIA Division II championship game in 2009-10. During the 2010-11 season, the Bears moved to the Mid-South Conference and NAIA Division I and went back to the Fab Four in that season. In the previous two seasons, the Bears have advanced to the NAIA Second Round. As an assistant, Nickel’s responsibilities included recruiting, scouting, walk through and Individual workouts.
Prior to Shawnee State, Nickel spent one season as head coach of his alma mater at Greenup County High School (Ky.). He went 17-10 in his only season and amassed the best regular season in 11 years at GCHS. He also spent two seasons as the Head Girls' Basketball Coach at Portsmouth High School. While at Portsmouth, he helped develop the Portsmouth Girls Youth Basketball League. Nickel has also spent four seasons as an assistant to KHSAA Ring of Honor Coach Randy Ward at Portsmouth Clay High School. Together they compiled a league championship, three sectional titles and two district finals appearances.
Coach Nickel began his basketball career at Greenup County High School under Coach Randy Ward. While at GCHS he was a member of three 63rd district championships, two 16th Region semifinal teams and one 16th Region runner-up team. He graduated from GCHS in 2000. The following year he started his coaching career at 18 years old at McKell Middle School in South Shore, Kentucky.
Nickel received his bachelor's degree from Shawnee State University in 2005 and holds a Grade 7-12 Integrated Social Studies Teaching license. In 2011, he received his master's degree in Athletic Administration/Coaching from Concordia University-Irvine, California. Nickel resides in South Shore, Kentucky.