As we celebrated Jessica Booker and honored her last four years here at Greenville University in last week’s article, we will switch focus this week to another senior who was a transfer from Illinois Central College. She has only been here for two years, but within that time frame, she has allowed herself to fall back in love with the game of volleyball. Like every athlete, there’s a time where we feel like we are losing our passion, but lucky for Whitney Nichols, coming to GU reminded her why she started playing volleyball in the first place. Nichols has successfully managed to leave a legacy behind for the rest of us to cherish and remember.
Whitney is a 5’11 senior from Elkhart, Illinois and is majoring in Digital Media. After college, her plans include searching for a GA position to continue with the sport of volleyball & potentially coach, along with going after her masters in design. As Whitney was able to look back on her experience, she gives an insightful story. “I feel like I have been a steady, calming force out there on the floor for us. Bringing the energy when it is most needed and pushing every individual out there on the court to make them better.” She reveals that the role she played on this team consisted of being a leader by stating, “We are an extremely young team with so much potential, and being a veteran out there on the floor made me take more pride in getting the job done right.”
Coach Tom Ackerman, along with assistant Coach Hayle Gibson, both condemn Whitney for taking on such an important role in the program. Coach Gibson says, “This year we have so many new girls in our program and she really held them accountable and laid the groundwork for the culture of our program.” Both express how Whitney is an example player who makes culture a priority. She serves her teammates well on and off of the court and she has a good understanding of what the goals are for the program.
Coach Gibson goes on to talk about how Whitney is so sweet in which she shared this memory about her, “I remember sitting with her in Jo’s Java as I listened to her talk about what her goals were on the court. I knew in those moments that she had no idea the impact she was going to make on our program simply for being the person that she is off of the court.” Coach Gibson recognizes how it has been an absolute honor to see Whitney grow and improve over the last few years.
Nichols admits that she will miss everything, to say the least. Her teammates will forever be her sisters, and the coaches are irreplaceable. As she is thankful for the opportunity to play the game of volleyball at the collegiate level, she still isn’t quite ready to give it up yet. The one thing Whitney said that stood out to me was:
“No matter how many good days, nor bad days you may go through, remember to always enjoy every little moment because it will be over in a blink of an eye.”
Whitney would like to give out some special thank you’s. “To my parents for being my go to’s. For always supporting me no matter what situation I got myself into, and for being my number one fans.” She switches focus to Coach Ackerman and the team, “Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. I hope I’ve done you proud. To my teammates, I love you all so much and thank you for making
Luckily for Whitney and the team, the Panthers were able to clinch the conference by winning the championship in which they will move on to compete in the NCAA Division 3 tournament! GU is so excited for these women and