Beach Volleyball

Nicholas Tabbed as Catawba's New Director of Volleyball


SALISBURY, N.C. -- Catawba College Director of Athletics, Larry Leckonby, has announced that Patrick Nicholas has been named as Director of Volleyball. He will serve as head coach for the indoor squad and oversee the development of the new beach volleyball program.

“First, I want to thank Larry Leckonby, President Lewis, Craig Turnbull and the rest of the search committee for this great opportunity;” said Nicholas.  “Getting to know and learn of Larry’s leadership, vision and drive with the guidance of President Lewis, it became very clear to me that Catawba College is where my family and I are supposed to coach and lead as well as, serve, encourage and empower the lives of young women.  Add in that is a beautiful campus and town located in one of the beautiful regions of North Carolina with so many awesome outdoor activities and easy access to the beaches and mountains just made the decision for us to make the move to Catawba an easy one.”

Nicholas brings several years of NCAA I Head Coach experience to the position. He was the head coach at UNC Greensboro from 2009-13 and helped the Spartans to 84 wins and five straight divisional top four finishes making him at that time the winningest Division I volleyball coach at UNCG in the SoCon era. Nicholas was also the head coach at Troy and Lehigh, while serving as an assistant at Marshall, Ohio State, Purdue, FIU, and the U.S Naval Academy.

“I am very excited to welcome, Patrick, Megan and Logan to the Catawba family,” stated Leckonby. “Patrick has an extensive background recruiting and coaching women’s volleyball on the college level and coaching and teaching volleyball on the club level. In addition, his beach volleyball experience will help with establishing the beach program at Catawba.”

“From both my campus visit and my research, several things about Catawba College became very evident to me,” added Nicholas.  “Catawba combines traditional liberal arts with professional programs in a supportive environment which allows Catawba College to offer the best of what you can expect to find at a larger university but within a very personalized setting.  At Catawba, it is very important that the student’s leave Catawba prepared for the future.”

“My vision for Catawba College Volleyball is to create a culture and legacy for sustained competitive excellence, academic performance and a distinctive student-athlete experience. I can’t wait to get in the gym with the team and begin training.”  

Nicholas has been with the Upward Stars Upstate Volleyball Club since 2015. He has been the head coach of the sand program and assisted with the top club teams at 18’s and 13’s. In addition, he has run the High Performance Training Volleyball School, training athletes in both indoor and beach volleyball.  In addition, he has coached with Florida Sun’s VBC, Austin Juniors VBC, River Cities VBC (San Antonio, TX), River City VBC (Huntington, WV), LAVA VBC (West Lafayette, IN) and CUVC (Charlotte, NC). 

As an assistant at Marshall, Nicholas served as the recruiting coordinator as the Herd claimed the 2007 Conference USA Regular Season Championship. His Troy squad posted the most wins during its Division I era and he compiled a 121-92 mark in seven winning seasons at Lehigh University. In 1997, Lehigh claimed the Patriot League Tournament and won an NCAA Tournament play-in match to advance to it’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.

Nicholas played volleyball at George Mason University as the Patriots earned their first-ever Top 10 National Ranking and was conference tournament finalists in 1983. Graduating in 1986 with a degree in parks, recreation and leisure studies, he served as an assistant coach at GMU during their first two NCAA Final Four runs.

While at the Naval Academy, Nicholas began coaching women’s volleyball in 1992 as an assistant. He would serve as Technical Assistant Coach/internship with the USA Women’s National Team in 1993-94 before joining the staff at Purdue. In 1995, Nicholas moved to Ohio State and assisted for two years for the Big 10 runner-up and nationally ranked Top Ten team. He then took the head coaching spot at Lehigh in 1997 where he became the all-time winningest coach.

Nicholas has worked 13 plus years with the USA Volleyball National Teams, High Performance Programs and other Development Programs.  He assisted in launching the USA Volleyball High Performance Programs in 1997 working as On-Site Director, Coordinator and Evaluator for the Girl’s Junior National Team, Girl’s Youth National Team and the Girl’s 14 & Under Training Team/Camp. In addition, he served in the same capacity for the Boy’s Junior National Teams, Boy’s Youth National Teams and the Boy’s 16 & Under Training Team/Camp.  He was the Head Coach for the USA Girl’s 14 & Under Team/Training Camp from 1997-2000, charged with training and developing future Olympians which culminated in 2000 winning a Silver Medal at the 2000 World Youth Games.  In addition, Nicholas traveled to Italy as Assistant Coach with the USA Boy’s Youth National Team in 1997 competing in a World Junior International Tournament.

While in North Carolina, Nicholas served as Head Coach of the Carolina Region Girl’s 14 & Under Team in 2011 and in 2012 earning a top ten finish.  In 2013 as Head Coach of the Carolina Region Youth Team they earned the Bronze Medal at the USA High Performance National Championships. Nicholas has also worked with the National A-2 team for a couple of summers an traveled to the Dominican Republic as Assistant Coach and Interim Head Coach in 2001 and was an evaluator for the USA Women’s National Team in 2013.

Nicholas also served as Head Coach for the All Army Women’s Team earning a Silver Medal at the All Armed Forces Championships in 1993 and as Assistant Coach for the San Diego Spikers Women’s professional team which won the National Volleyball Association Championships in 1994.

What others are saying about Patrick Nicholas

Patrick Nicholas is one of the best teachers of sport technique and tactics I know.  His teams are well trained, well prepared and always highly competitive.  He loves the sport of volleyball and has great passion for coaching and developing those who also love the game.
- Joe Sterrett, Director of Athletics Lehigh University

Catawba has hired the right person for the job of Director of Volleyball.  Coach Patrick Nicholas has a wealth of knowledge and is an expert at building up programs and athletes.  His passion for the sport of volleyball (women’s, beach and men’s game) is unmatched as is his energy and commitment for doing things the right way.  Get ready for greatness Catawba!  Go Indians!
- Corey Helle, Club Director Upward Stars Upstate VBC

This is a grand slam home run hire for Catawba!  Coach Nicholas is a brilliant teacher and trainer, a creative game strategist, and a high character person.  He is personally invested in the success and wellbeing of his players.  He is a generous, high character, family-oriented person.  His experience, knowledge, resourcefulness, and sense of duty are uncommon.  Coach Nicholas will absolutely bring out the best in his players and in this volleyball program and he will do it the right way.
- Derek Bing
Varsity Head Coach and Volleyball Program Head; Gaston Day School Head Coach;
Parent of 3 players trained by Coach Nicholas

I want to congratulate Catawba College Athletics for hiring a special talent as Patrick Nicholas for your Head Volleyball coaching position.
In my opinion Patrick has the knowledge, skill and experience to develop a top notch program for Catawba. The one factor that Patrick brings is his philosophy of leading the program with the Student-Athlete at the forefront, focusing on the health and well-being of all participants involved with the program. 
As a volleyball coach his knowledge of the game is at a very high level and he has exhibited time and time again that that he is a great teacher of the game. 
Wishing  Catawba the best for sustained success on and off the field of play.
- Robert “Bob” Gambardella
Retired: Chief, Sport Development & Singapore Sports Institute, Singapore Sports Council.
Formally:  Director, Sports Partnerships, NOC Solidarity & Protocol, United States Olympic Committee “USOC”, 2000-2009.
Formally:  Director of USA Volleyball National Teams and Director of Junior Athlete Development & High Performance Programs, 1996-2000.

Congratulations to the staff and players at Catawba college for the  choice for their new women’s head volleyball coach, Pat Nicholas. Coach Nicholas is one of the most passionate and dedicated coach that I know. His knowledge of the game is impressive and always evolving. But his passion to help and mentor young athletes goes way beyond the X’s and O’s on the court. He is caring and understanding to the development of the entire athletic as a player and a person. I look forward to watching him, along with his staff and the athletic dept. at Catawba College, build a top rank program athletically and academically. Good luck coach Nicholas.
- Jim McHugh
 Club Director, Florida Suns VBC

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