High School Sports

Hilton Head tennis fixture Nichols leaves for California

There were no cameras, no people to fill an audience and no fans back home ready to burn his jersey.

But Scott Nichols figured it might be his only chance to repeat the famous -- or infamous -- line from LeBron James.

"I'm taking my talents to the West Coast," he said as he sat down.

And with that, after more than a decade as a fixture in the Hilton Head Island tennis community, Nichols is moving on.

Hilton Head High's boys and girls tennis coach for the past two years, Nichols has accepted a position as director of tennis operations at Marbella Country Club in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

He began his journey to California today and will start his new job Monday.

"I'm excited for the opportunity," Nichols said. "And the timing was perfect."

Nichols' time at Hilton Head High was brief, but he made his impact nonetheless. He led the girls squad to a pair of Class 3-A state titles, part of the Seahawks' four-peat as state champions. The boys team won region titles in both of his seasons at the helm.

Prior to coaching the Seahawks, Nichols spent nine years as a professional at Long Cove Club, a position he left in 2007. He also coached the up-and-coming program Junior Team Tennis.

Nichols released a book last year, "On the Other Hand," in which he writes about using both hands to improve one's tennis game. It was sold at the U.S. Open gift shop in September.

"Obviously, I've had great years here," he said. "What I'll miss most are the high school players and the Junior Team Tennis players, as well as the places I've worked and the friends I've made along the way."

Nichols' departure leaves an opening with the Seahawks boys team, which began practice Monday in preparation for its spring season.

Hilton Head High athletics director Lew Kent said he has not yet found a replacement for Nichols, but he said he is close. Nichols conducted tryouts for the team earlier this week.

During its four-year run as state champions, the Hilton Head High girls team has had three different coaches. Now, it will be the team's fourth coaching change in five seasons.