LEXINGTON, Va. - VMI swimming and diving coach Bill Nicholson has resigned, effective immediately, to accept a position as a swimming club coach in the Waynesboro, Va. area, according to information released Thursday afternoon.
Nicholson spent 15 years as the head coach of the VMI swimming and diving programs, the second-longest tenure in the history of a program that dates back to 1937. He was the coach when the women's program became a varsity sport in 2005-06 and oversaw every first in that team's history. He coached both the men's and women's programs in two different conferences, including winning back to back men's titles in the Northeastern Conference in 2006 and 2007, and assisted with the Keydets' move to the America East Conference, which will officially take place July 1 of this year.
“Coach Nicholson's contributions to our department and to VMI cannot be overstated," said VMI athletic director Dr. Dave Diles. "He's a talented coach, but more importantly he has the personal values and professional characteristics that have made him a great fit at VMI. I'm deeply grateful for his lengthy and substantive contributions to our department.”
Nicholson was honored with the VMI achievement award in the summer of 2016, and was the longest-running head coach in any sport at VMI since former track coach Mike Bozeman retired following his 23rd season at the helm in 2007-08. Only two school records remain on the books from before Nicholson's time with the program.
“It has been my great pleasure to work with Bill over the past three years," said VMI women's water polo coach Ryan Pryor, a frequent colleague of Nicholson's. "He was a tremendous help to me in learning the ropes at VMI and he's done great work with our swimming and diving programs. Both the men's & women's teams have made rapid progress under his direction, constantly re-writing the record books. He's always been able to get the most of his swimmers. His flexibility and support has also been integral to the success of our many dual-sport athletes who compete in both swimming and water polo. I'm sorry to see him go but I wish him the best of luck in his next endeavor.”
"It has been a great experience coaching at VMI," said Nicholson. "The support Gen. Peay, Dr. Diles, Ryan Pryor and all the current members of the athletic department have shown to me and the members of the swimming and diving team has been incredible. Working with the cadet-athletes over the years has been a very rewarding experience and they have always been the driving force that has moved the teams forward. I've done my best to build up the program, and I am looking forward to seeing where it will go in the future."
A search for Nicholson's successor will begin immediately.