Nicholson out as head softball coach

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Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Earlier last week, Angie Nicholson informed the Eastern Athletic Administration that she was resigning from her position as Eastern’s head softball coach.

The news came to the players on the team Aug. 15. that they will be playing for a new coach in the spring of 2017. Nicholson accepted a coaching position at Hampton University in Virginia.

Softball head coach Angie Nicholson recently informed Eastern that she will be accepting a coaching position job at Hampton University in Virginia.

File Photo
Softball head coach Angie Nicholson recently informed Eastern that she will be accepting a coaching position job at Hampton University in Virginia.

She will be replacing Joe DiPietro, former coach of Hampton, who resigned in July. He led the Pirates to a 42-54 record over two seasons.

The team was moving back to Charleston just three days after they found out coach Nicholson was not returning. It was sudden and unexpected said senior catcher Ashlynne Paul.

“With it being so late, I had no idea coach was going to be leaving,” Paul said.

Nicholson was hired in the summer of 2013, so for Ashlynne and senior Amber Toenyes, Nicholson was the only coach they played for.

The Panthers also had five freshmen last season, so making the adjustment to the new coach when they are hired will be something everyone has to do. Mady Poulter, Jennifer Ames, Kayla Bear, Maria DeVito, Amber Matchett were all freshmen last season.

“I think it’s going to take a while to adjust to our new coach, whoever that may be,” Paul said. “But it’s just like anything else we will have to adjust. It’s not what I was expecting my final season but I am excited for whoever (Athletic Director Tom Michael) brings in to lead us to a great season.”

With the team being back at school and starting to train, and a fall season right around the corner, the coaching search is in full swing and Michael hopes to have a new coach here very quickly, he said.

Even though the regular season does not begin until the spring of 2017, the need to have someone in place to lead the softball program is critical.

“You try to have names on a list in the event that something like this happens,” Michael said. “I also have a number of people who I have relationships with around the country to determine interest levels and whether or not someone might fit at EIU or not. I feel that we will find someone to make the EIU softball program better very quickly.”

Nicholson spent the last three years as the Panthers’ head coach and posted a record of 84-72. She also won her 400th career-coaching game April 18, 2015 with a win against Tennessee State.

Eastern has proven to be a successful softball program over the past few years, which Michael believes has sparked interest from potential coaches across the country.

He added that is clearly a credit to the ladies on the team and who have played there before.

While making the transition to getting a new coach can be tough for anyone, this is not the first time that Paul had to deal with a situation like this.

“This happened to me when I came in as a freshman,” Paul said. “My fellow seniors and I have made it clear to the team that we are in this together. We have just been helping each other out and sticking together as one to get through this little rough time when we have no coach.”

The Panthers will be without a coach for some time, but Michael anticipates a coach to be hired soon.

Coach Nicholson could not be reached for comment. More news will be released when made available.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]