Ladyjack head coach Nicole Nelson has had a significant impact in her three seasons on the SFA campus. Nelson won her second-straight Southland Conference Coach of the Year by guided her troops the 2004 SLC regular-season title, and the programs first since the 1998 season. With the Ladyjacks 11-5-3 (.658) overall record in 2004, the best seasons in school history have come during Nelson's watch.
After the season, the honors came pouring in for the Ladyjacks. Nelson received her second-straight SLC Coach of the Year honor, and nine of her athletes were named to the All-SLC team, including four first-team selections. Four Ladyjacks were named to the Academic All-SLC team, including three first-team selections. The Ladyjacks also had six athletes receive SLC Player of the Week honors throughout the season.
In 2003, the Nelson-led Ladyjacks recorded a school-record 15 victories, which is an eight-game turnaround from the previous season. The Ladyjacks also set a school-record with nine shutout wins. Nelson guided her troops to a Southland Conference regular-season runner-up finish and she was named the 2003 SLC Coach of the Year, and the success didn't stop there. The Ladyjacks entered the SLC tournament as the No. 2 seed and knocked off top-seed Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference Championship game to earn the school's first trip to the NCAA Championships.
A trademark of Nelson's squads has been a smothering defense. In her three seasons in Nacogdoches, the Ladyjacks have produced three of the better defensive units in school history. Nelson's troops have recorded 20 shutouts over the course of the past three season, while goalkeeper Natascia Michalezki has recorded the top three single-season saves marks in school history. Michalezki also became the school all-time leader in saves during her junior season.
Nelson faced a tough task in her rookie season as the Ladyjacks head coach. The team lost its all-time leading scorer Kendra Cannon in the first half of the season opener and went on to lose its first three games. But Nelson didn't let her team quit, and she rallied her troops as the Ladyjacks won five of their next eight games. SFA finished the season with a 7-9-4 (.450) overall record and a 4-4-4 (.500) Southland Conference mark. The loss of Cannon was pivotal in the Ladyjacks season, as five of the Ladyjacks' losses were by a margin of two goals or less.
The honors have been rolling in for the Ladyjacks since Nelson took over the soccer program. In her three seasons, 22 Ladyjacks have received All-Southland Conference honors, including five first-team selections. Throughout the course of the past three seasons, the Ladyjacks have received 22 Southland Conference Player of the Week awards as well.
The Ladyjacks have been just as successful in the classroom as well. SFA has had eight players named to the Academic All-Southland Conference team over the past three seasons, including five first-team selections. That number has been on the rise every season under Nelson.
Nelson joined the Ladyjack coaching staff in 2001 as an assistant coach. During her first season on campus, she helped lead the Ladyjacks to one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in the country, as the Ladyjacks followed up a 4-12-2 (.278) campaign in 2000 with a 10-8-1 (.553) record. The Ladyjacks also returned to the SLC tournament, battling eventual tournament champion Southwest Texas to double overtime before finally bowing out.
Prior to her arrival in Nacogdoches, Nelson was a graduate assistant for the Oklahoma City University women's team. During her time in Oklahoma, Nelson coached at both the high school and club levels. She guided both the Shockers '82 and the Shockers '85 to state cup appearances. Nelson helped lead the Mustang High School varsity team to the state playoffs. She was also the head coach for a Girls European Tour Team, where she coached matches in England, Wales and Scotland, recording a perfect 14-0 record. Nelson has served as the director of camps at Stephen F. Austin for the past two seasons. During the summers of 1995-2001, Nelson was senior coach for Brian Harvey's American Youth Soccer Camp. She has also worked with the SMU, Texas A&M and Centenary Camps.
During her playing days, Nelson played as a freshman at Texas A&M before transferring back to her native Oklahoma to play for Oklahoma City University. She served as a captain two out of her three years at OCU. Nelson received All-American, all-region and all-conference honors as a player. She currently holds a USSF "B" License.