By Marty Gordon
RADFORD – Radford University basketball coach and Radford native Darris Nichols pled guilty on Thursday to driving under the influence following his arrest on Sunday, Feb. 19.
The second-year coach refused a field sobriety test, and a later blood alcohol level was reported to be at point-25.
Details about the arrest have not been released.
Radford University issued a statement that said Darris’ brother, Shane, will serve as the acting coach until the matter is examined further.
“This is a personnel matter, and we have no further comment at this time,” the Radford University statement reads.
Darris was released early Monday on an unsecured $3,500 bond. He was in court Thursday and, in accordance with his guilty plea, will have his driver’s license suspended for 12 months, will pay a $2,500 fine, and will be required to have an ignition interlock system put on his vehicle. Nichols also received a 180-day jail sentence with all but two days suspended.
The Radford native was hired two years ago after serving as an assistant at the University of Florida. During a press conference at his hiring, RU Athletic Director Robert Lineburg praised Nichols for coming back home. Lineburg is also a Radford High School graduate.
Nichols played basketball at West Virginia University and climbed the ranks as an assistant coach all the way to the University of Florida in the SEC.
He helped lead Radford High School to four appearances in the state Group A playoffs, averaging double-figures every season. He coached the Gators to a 108-65 record in his seven seasons as the head coach including four straight 20-win seasons and three straight NCAA Tournament bids.
Nichols garnered a spot in ESPN.com’s 40 Under 40 in the summer of 2020, rated #17 on the national list that included both head coaches and assistant coaches. He was also rated the #2 assistant coach in the SEC in a poll of league coaches.
A four-year letter winner at West Virginia under Bob Huggins and John Beilein, Nichols helped the Mountaineers to a 26-11 record and a trip to the 2008 NCAA Sweet 16 his senior season.
At WVU, Nichols scored 993 points and handed out 399 assists while shooting at a .375 clip from 3-point range. He averaged 10.7 points per game and 3.2 assists per game as a senior during WVU’s Sweet 16 run. He was also a member of the 2007 NIT championship team, the 2006 Sweet 16 team, and the 2005 Elite Eight team. He finished his collegiate career in the top five of West Virginia players with the most wins. After graduation, he played professionally overseas in the Hungarian League.
His assistant coaching stops have included Louisiana Tech, Northern Kentucky, and Wofford, where he coached for now-Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young.
His brother, Shane, joined him in Radford as an assistant.