Austin College alum and Athletics Hall of Honor member Mary Nickell has been named the new head men’s and women’s tennis coach of the Kangaroos, athletics director David Norman has announced.
“We are excited to have Mary lead our tennis program,” said Norman. “As an alum, she appreciates that athletics at Austin College are also about developing character and building leaders for the future. Her passion for Austin College is quite special. We are thrilled to have her back on campus and now look forward to what she will achieve with our tennis programs.”
Nickell graduated from Austin College in 1978 and received her masters degree from the College in 1979. While at Austin College, Nickell was a standout tennis, volleyball and softball player, being named both the tennis team’s most valuable player and the Gene Day Female Athlete of the Year as well as being an All-Conference volleyball player. She was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor in 2000. Since graduating from Austin College, Nickell has been consistently teaching and coaching tennis at various levels, and brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to the Kangaroos.
“I’m really excited to be at Austin College,” said Nickell. “It feels like coming home. After having met with all of the coaches and staff at Austin College, I know it will be a great change of pace to be back on a college campus and working with of the folks here, especially the student-athletes.”
Nickell has previously worked as a college head coach at Howard Payne University, where she helmed the tennis team from 1991 through 1996. She also coached tennis, volleyball, softball and basketball at Texoma Christian School between 2003 and 2007, and in fact began both the tennis and softball programs. Most recently, Nickell worked as a teacher at Melissa High School, where she taught biology and was a health and wellness teacher as well as coaching softball and assisting the tennis program from 2007 until 2011.
“Mary has a tremendous passion for the sport of tennis,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics Tim Millerick. “We know that she will be able to impart that passion to our student-athletes and enable them to flourish at the College, within the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and across the country as a result of her appointment.”
Nickell takes over a pair of tennis programs that have continued to take great strides in recent years, with the women’s team having recently cracked the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s regional rankings for the first time in program history the past two seasons.