Dec. 21, 2007
NORMAN, Okla. -- Nicole Nelson is the new head soccer coach at the University of Oklahoma following a thorough national search. After an impressive three-year run as the head coach at Stephen F. Austin and successful stints as an assistant coach at Texas and Baylor, Nelson's hiring was announced Friday by OU VP/Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. She is the third head coach in the history of the program.
"This is an exciting day for the University of Oklahoma and our women's soccer program," Castiglione said. "Nicole Nelson has earned respect across the country, particularly in the Big 12 Conference, with her success. It became more and more evident that she was considered one of the rising stars in coaching and embodies what we need in this important leadership position.
"We are excited to welcome her to our Sooner family and confident that she will build this program into one of the nation's most competitive and successful programs."
Throughout seven years of her collegiate coaching career, Nelson's teams have accumulated an 81-47-20 record, including a 33-19-9 mark while at the helm of the Stephen F. Austin program from 2002-2004.
Nelson, a native of Yukon, Okla., who attended Mustang High School and graduated from Oklahoma City University in 1997, expressed her joy in returning home.
"I am excited to return home to the state of Oklahoma to coach," Nelson said. "Having grown up playing and coaching in this state it is with tremendous pride that I accept this position. I am grateful for the opportunities that I had at Texas, Baylor and Stephen F. Austin, as they prepared me for the work that lies ahead here at Oklahoma. What I have learned working for the University of Texas and more specifically Chris Petrucelli, has been invaluable.
"The commitment to excellence here at Oklahoma is very evident in the athletic administration's support and the quality of the new soccer facility. I am determined to bring in a staff and recruits that will embrace making championships a Sooner soccer tradition."
During her two years as an assistant at Texas, Nelson assisted with all aspects of running the program and helped coach a Longhorn team that won back-to-back postseason Big 12 Championships in 2006 and 2007. Texas also made consecutive appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 during Nelson's tenure, which also featured nine All-Big 12 honorees and three All-America honors.
The postseason run in 2006 was the Longhorns' first conference tournament title and after an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16, Texas achieved the program's highest final ranking at No. 8. In addition, the 18 wins in 2006 was a program best and Texas also produced two All-Americans in a single season for the second time in program history.
In 2007, Texas finished with a 16-4-5 overall mark and a second-place finish in the Big 12 standings with a 6-2-2 record. Nelson again helped lead the Longhorns into elite status as they achieved a No. 1 ranking during the season and again won the Big 12 Tournament Championship and appeared in the NCAA Sweet 16.
Nelson also served as the recruiting coordinator at Texas, a position she also held as an assistant coach while at Baylor University in 2005.
Prior to her stint at Baylor, Nelson directed the Stephen F. Austin program to two Southland Conference Championships. In her second year at the helm, Nelson's Ladyjacks won the conference tournament and advanced to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003. In 2004, SFA won the regular season Southland Championship and Nelson was named the conference coach of the year for the second consecutive season. Nelson tutored 25 student-athletes that were tabbed All-SLC over three seasons and left the Ladyjacks as the winningest coach in program history.
As a player, Nelson started every game and was the team captain in 1995, 1996 and 1997 at Oklahoma City University under Brian Harvey. Nelson was a three-time All-Sooner Athletic Conference member and Academic All-American. She began her collegiate career at Texas A&M University as a freshman and concluded it at OCU as an All-American (honorable mention).
Before she started her career in coaching, Nelson played soccer for the Austin Lonestars (W-League). Following that stint she worked with numerous clubs and camps before taking her first position in the collegiate ranks as a volunteer assistant at her alma mater in 2000-01.
Nelson earned her bachelor's degree in psychology as well as a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish in 1997 at Oklahoma City University. She received her master's degree in kinesiology from Stephen F. Austin in May 2005.