Jonath Nicholas Returns To St. John's Bench To Complete Joe Tartamella's Inaugural Staff

Jonath Nicholas returns to St. John's after a four-year stint with the Providence Friars.

June 28, 2012

Queens, N.Y. - St. John's head women's basketball coach Joe Tartamella announced Thursday the addition of Jonath Nicholas as assistant coach, a hiring that locks into place the final piece of Tartamella's coaching staff. Nicholas, who assisted former head coach Kim Barnes Arico from 2004-08, brings nearly a decade of BIG EAST experience and familiarity to the Red Storm bench as he embarks on his second tenure with St. John's.

"We are excited to welcome back Jonath Nicholas to the St. John's University Women's Basketball family," remarked Tartamella. "He is one of the most capable recruiters in the country and his knowledge of the conference makes him a valuable asset to our program."

"I am very excited to come back to St. John's, especially with the opportunity to help Coach Tartamella continue to grow such a successful program that he played such an integral role in building," Nicholas said. "Coach Tartamella is one of the more high energy coaches in the game. He really understands the game from the bench, knows how and when to make adjustments and has a great feel for dealing with young student-athletes. I am happy to be back in Queens, back near my hometown of Brooklyn, and am eager to be able to work with Coach Tartamella in a different capacity to help take St. John's women's basketball to another level."

At St. John's, Nicholas' duties will include recruiting, player development, opponent scouting in addition to any other duties assigned.

In his first term with St. John's, 2004-08, Nicholas helped guide the Red Storm to some of its most successful seasons under the direction of former head coach Kim Barnes Arico, including St. John's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1988 during the 2005-06 season. The Red Storm qualified for the BIG EAST Conference Tournament during all four seasons, earned two WNIT invitations (2005, 2008) and had two 20-win seasons.

 

 

During the 2005-06 season, Nicholas helped the Red Storm finish with a 22-8 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament Second Round with a 78-68 victory over California in State College, Pa. The 2006 Red Storm eventually lost 81-74 to the 2006 NCAA Tournament Champions, University of Maryland.

In his four-year tenure, Nicholas was responsible for recruiting, scouting and guard player development as well as assisting the staff with game preparation and game coaching. Nicholas was largely responsible for the recruitment of some of St. John's women's basketball's greatest names in the past decade, including Da'Shena Stevens, Sky Lindsay and Monique McLean. Stevens, who graduated in May 2012, finished her career as the most decorated Red Storm student-athlete in program-history starting as the 2008 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and ending as the BIG EAST Scholar Athletic of the Year and BIG EAST Sportsmanship Award honoree. In between she earned WBCA All-Region accolades twice, All-BIG EAST postseason awards three times and was a Naismith Candidate three-straight seasons. Lindsay helped change the face of Red Storm women's basketball as she was an instant starter and set the St. John's record for career games (132). McLean, another All-BIG EAST honoree, was a key contributor to St. John's run in the 2006 NCAA Tournament finishing her career with her name etched in eight of St. John's top 10 offensive categories.

After his first stint at St. John's, Nicholas spent four years at Providence College, first as an assistant coach before being elevated to associate head coach in 2010. With the Friars, he was responsible for game strategy preparation, recruiting, opponent scouting, coaching clinics, scheduling and budget organization. He also served as an ambassador of the Friars' program with speaking engagements and as a regular guest on the Friars radio show. At Providence, Nicholas helped bring in top 20 recruiting class in 2010, which included Alicia Cropper, rated No. 32 by ESPN Hoop Gurlz, Lauren Okafor, rated No. 85 by All Star Girls' Report and an eventual BIG EAST All-Freshman honoree, Tia Wright, who led the BIG EAST in double-doubles in 2011, Miranda Tate, rated No. 45 by All Star Girls' Report and Rachel Barnes, a WBCA Junior College All-American.

Before making his mark in the BIG EAST, Nicholas spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was responsible for guard development, recruiting and video coordination. Nicholas was responsible for signing former UAB stand-out Carmen Guzman `07. Guzman was a four-year starter for the Blazers and went on to earn Conference USA Player of the Year honors and was a finalist for the KODAK/WBCA All-America team. Nicholas also recruited Crystal McFadden, another All-Conference USA selection.

Nicholas also served as Associate Head Coach at Southwestern Community College in San Diego, Calif. from 1988-99. While at SCC, he helped develop 10 Junior College All-Americans and 16 student-athletes who went on to play NCAA Division I basketball.

Nicholas also enjoyed a stellar playing career at UAB from 1980-82, where he played under Hall of Fame Coach Gene Bartow. As a junior, he helped his team advance to the NCAA Sweet 16, the first-ever NCAA appearance by the Blazers. The following season, the Blazers posted a 25-6 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. He remains among the top-10 at UAB in free throw percentage and led the Sun Belt Conference in free throw percentage while he was there.

Prior to UAB, he played two seasons at Mesa Community College in San Diego, where he set single season and single game scoring records. Nicholas was voted a Junior College All-American and was also named the best "Freshman Performer" by Street & Smith's.

Nicholas completed his bachelor's degree in physical education from Trinity University in 1997. Nicholas and his wife, Roz Ervin, have two sons, Branden and Courtney.

The 2012-13 Red Storm squad returns four starters, eight letterwinners and 79 percent of its scoring from its 2011-12 team that posted a 24-10 overall record and advanced to the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. The 2011-12 Red Storm also enjoyed a No. 3 seed, a program best, and finished second in the BIG EAST Conference (13-3) after being picked to finish seventh in the league's preseason poll. St. John's defeated six ranked opponents and finished the season ranked No. 13/15 in the national polls.

Keep up to date on all St. John's women's basketball news by following St. John's women's basketball (@STJ_WBasketball) and head coach Joe Tartamella (@STJ_CoachT) on Twitter!

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