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Nichols named new Ashley Ridge tennis coach

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Scott Nichols brings a wealth of experience to the Ashley Ridge tennis program.

Scott Nichols has been named the new head coach for the Ashley Ridge tennis program.

Nichols, who is also Director of Tennis for Legend Oaks Golf and Tennis Club, takes over a Swamp Foxes’ program that claimed multiple region championships under Sean McCawley. Ashley Ridge Athletic Director Randall Tucker anticipates it will continue to thrive under Nichols’ guidance.

“He has a ton of experience both in South Carolina and out of state,” Tucker said. “He won a couple of state championships at Hilton Head High and had strong teams when he coached in Texas.”

Nichols led four boys’ tennis teams to state championships during his time at Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas. He led two girls’ teams to state titles when he was at Hilton Head from 2007-11.

More recently he served as the Director of Tennis at the prestigious Marbella Country Club in San Juan Capistrano, California.

“It’s fun to be back in the Lowcountry and to be involved with the high school players again,” Nichols said. “I’m looking forward to being a part of that team atmosphere and trying to compete against teams like Wando. My wife and I had been wanting to come back here to be closer to family and when Andy (Steingold) retired from Legend Oaks there was a position for me so it all worked out.”

His children live in North Carolina and he has a sister who lives in West Ashley. Working in Summerville also offers him a change in pace from Orange County and allows him to dedicate more time to his other interests.

“I’ve been doing real estate since I was seven, both coasts, so I stay very busy,” he said. “I’m also a drummer.”

Yet he manages to find time for charitable endeavors, particularly those designed to help the wheelchair bound and people suffering from cancer, autism or homelessness.

Nichols has experienced success at the national level as both a player and Junior Team Tennis coach/instructor. His current teaching certifications include USPTA Elite Professional, USPTA National Tester, Professional Tennis Registry Pro 1 and Professional Wheelchair Instructor. In his 30s and 40s he was a top-ranked Men’s Double player and ranked in the Top 10 for Singles. That success carried into his 50s and last year he was ranked fourth for 55s.

In 2005, he was named United States Professional Tennis Association Southern Division 35 and Over Player of the Year and received the United States Professional Tennis Registry player of the year honor. As a member of the U.S. Trabert Cup Team in 2004 he represented his country during a tournament in Turkey.

Nichols attended Guilford College, where he played four years of varsity tennis. At age 18, he won the Eastern Section Junior Grass Court Singles Championship. Twenty-five years later, he won the USTA National Men’s 40’s Grass Court Singles Tennis Championship.

“I’ve had a nice career and checked all the boxes, but here I am wanting to do high school tennis again,” he said. “There is something about getting a group of people together and working toward having them play at the best of their ability.”

The Ashley Ridge Girls lost some talent to graduation and, pending any transfers in, aren’t expected to have any nationally ranked players this fall. However, a few varsity letterman are expected to return.

“My goal for the season is for us to exceed expectations,” Nichols said. “We will just have to really work together and try to build. I feel with my experience, I can help with things such as strategy and conditioning. If they buy into what I want to teach them it will at least give us a chance to be competitive with some of the more seasoned teams.”

He is also an author. His book "On the Other Hand" was inspired by lessons he learned through the years about the role one’s nondominant hand can play.

“Everybody on the roster will get a copy,” he said. “Of course practice and workouts are important, but at the novice through intermediate levels I want to make sure I’m teaching using the nondominant hand and how it affects all the strokes.”