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Will Wade coaches LSU in its SEC home opener against Alabama, Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU won 88-79.

LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade filled out his staff for next season Tuesday with the addition of Kevin Nickelberry as assistant to the head coach.

Nickelberry, who was a Clemson assistant coach and mentor to Wade when he was a student-manager at his alma mater in the early 2000s, most recently was the head coach at Howard.

Last winter, Nickelberry guided Howard to its first postseason berth since 1992 when the Bison were chosen to participate in the College Basketball Invitational.

The 54-year-old Washington, D.C., native also was the head coach at Hampton from 2006-09. He was an assistant at Howard, Monmouth, Holy Cross, Charlotte and Clemson after spending three seasons as women’s coach at Columbia Union.

“I have been friends with him for some 15 years and know that he will be a tremendous mentor and resource for our players with his years of college basketball experience,” Wade said in a university news release.

Nickelberry’s appointment is subject to approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Wade actually had two spots to fill this spring after he promoted director of student-athlete development Tasmin Mitchell to full-time assistant and coordinator of basketball operations Brian Merritt left the program to become an assistant at Morgan State.

Wade then decided to combine those two staff positions to bring in Nickelberry, who stepped down at Howard on March 27 after nine seasons with a 94-194 record.

While head coach at Hampton, where he went 49-44 in three seasons, Nickelberry was recognized as one of the top 25 up-and-coming coaches by The Sporting News and hoopscooponline.com.

Known nationally for his work on the recruiting trail, Nickelberry was named one of the country’s top assistants by Basketball Times, The Hoop Scoop and Rivals.com.


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He has recruited and worked with 13 conference rookies of the year, eight conference players of the year and 29 all-conference players.

Before becoming a coach, Nickelberry was president of two public relations firms and founded an at-risk youth non-profit organization in the Washington, D.C. area.

He played his college ball at Virginia Wesleyan and earned a degree in communications.


Email Sheldon Mickles at smickles@theadvocate.com