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Craig Nicholson
Position: Head Coach
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Nicholson Photos

 COACHING HIGHLIGHTS

-Guided ASU to a third place finish in his first year in the historically tough Pac-12 conference.

-Led ASU to victories over powerhouse programs such as Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Washington and UCLA.

- Sun Devil's as a team batted .322 on the year while allowing opponents to hit a miniscule .206.

- Coached 10 student-athletes that recieved Pac-12 All-Academic Honors.

- Under his tutelage, two Sun Devils, Amber Freeman and Dallas Escobedo, were named NFCA Second Team All-Americans.

- Prior to his arrival at BSU, single-season high in homers was 18. BSU had 70 in 2012.

- Cardinals were only team in the nation in 2012 to rank in the top 10 nationally in batting average (.318, 8th), slugging percentage (.543, 6th), runs scored (6.69/game, 5th) and home runs (1.27/game, 10th).

- BSU program record in 2008 with 151 stolen bases.

- Coached the 2009, 2010 and 2012 MAC Players of the Year

- In 2009 was MAC Coach of the Year and also had the Pitcher of the Year

- 2013 MAC Coach of the Year

- At BSU, had 31 All-MAC honorees, 13 first-team, 11 second-team and seven all-freshmen

Hired June 30, 2013

In his first season as the head coach at Arizona State, Coach Nicholson led the Sun Devils to an impressive 46-12-1 record and another berth in the postseason. ASU was one of sixteen teams selected to host an NCAA Regional earning the No. 9 national seed. Nicholson guided ASU to a third place finish in his first year in the historically tough Pac-12 conference. Despite it being just his first season, Nicholson led ASU to victories over powerhouse programs such as Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas, Washington and UCLA. Under his tutelage, two Sun Devils, Amber Freeman and Dallas Escobedo, were named NFCA Second Team All-Americans. In Nicholson’s new offensive system, Amber Freeman put up monster numbers batting a career best .406 with 11 home runs on her way to a First Team All-Pac 12 season. In her final season of a memorable ASU career, Dallas Escobedo, who also was named to the All-Pac 12 First Team, was dominant winning 24 games and posting a 1.95 ERA with 336 strikeouts in just over 233 innings.

Nicholson's high powered offensive approach paid dividends as the Sun Devil's as a team batted .322 on the year while allowing opponents to hit a miniscule .206. ASU was also more aggressive on the base paths, increasing both their stolen bases and attempts from the previous year. Nicholson's players also got it done off the field, with 10 student-athletes receiving Pac-12 All-Academic Honors.

The incoming recruiting class has brought excitement to the future of the program with two Gatorade State Player of the Year award winners joining the Sun Devils for the upcoming season. Breanna Macha and Dale Ryndak look to replenish a pitching staff that lost several to graduation. The recruiting class and young players have ASU fans looking forward to what the future of the program holds.

Nicholson was the head coach at Ball State for the for seven seasons where he amassed a 241-162 record with the Cardinals and holds a 1010-264-1 career record. Nicholson replaced Clint Myers, who accepted a similar position at Auburn on June 14. On top of coaching at Ball State, Nicholson was the associate head coach for the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) in 2008 and helped the team to a NPF title.

The fastest coach in program history to pass the 100 and 200-win marks, Nicholson was instrumental in Ball State capturing three Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season championships (2009, 2010, 2012), a trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and the program's first All-American. Offensive minded, Nicholson saw much growth in the Ball State program under his tutelage.

In 2013, Ball State finished its season in the MAC Tournament with a 37-17 overall record and 18-3 in conference for its fourth league title in the last five years and a MAC Coach of the Year accolade for Nicholson. Nicholson saw the program earn its first All-American, with a third team selection in the two-time MAC Player of the Year, Jennifer Gilbert.

A similar stop along the way to ASU as former head coach Clint Myers, Nicholson spent 11 years at Central Arizona, one of which with Myers, where his coaching record was 723-90. He led CAC to four National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships (1997, 1999, 2003, 2005), seven conference championships and eight regional titles. In that time he was named Coach of the Year four times and the NFCA Junior College Coach of the Year on three occasions.

In addition to his coaching duties at CAC, Nicholson was a professor of sport and fitness. He is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada where he earned his bachelor's degree in physical education. He earned his master's in sport science from the United States Sports Academy in Mobile, Ala.

Also joining Nicholson in the Sun Devil family are his wife April and his children Cade, Avery, Payton and Colby.

COACH NICHOLSON'S YEAR-BY-YEAR DIVISION I RECORDS

Year School Overall Conference Highlight
2014 Arizona State 46-12-1 15-7-1  NCAA Tournament
2013 Ball State 37-17 18-3 MAC Champions 
2012 Ball State 40-15 17-3 MAC Champions
2011 Ball State 34-24 13-8  
2010 Ball State 43-16 17-5 MAC Champions/NCAA Tournament
2009 Ball State 29-24 18-3 MAC Champions
2008 Ball State 36-32 9-11  
2007 Ball State 22-34 8-14  
1996-2006 Central Arizona 723-90 (11 Seasons)  

4 NJCAA National Championships
7 Conference Championships
8 Regional Titles
4-Time Coach of the Year
3-Time NFCA JC Coach of the Year

Total 7 Seasons 1010-264-1 (.793) 115-54 (.681) 2 NCAA Tournament Appearances
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