By Nick Porter
BUENA VISTA, Va. – Southern Virginia University head women's volleyball coach Nicole Gwynn today announced that she will be stepping down from her position. She made the first announcement to her team late last week.
Gwynn, a Hamilton, Mont. native who also played at Southern Virginia, was recently diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. Although the treatments have been working and she is expected to recover, Gwynn feels that a change of scenery will be best for her health, and for the team.
"Leaving coaching is an extremely hard decision, but I feel right about it," Gwynn said. I am going to miss the girls and the relationships we have built the past three years. We caught the cancer early and it is very treatable, but treatment will time consuming and the team deserves someone who can be with them and give them 100%, right now I can't."
"Nicole has been a great part of our program over the last three years," Vice President and Director of Athletics Jason Lamb said. "She has made tremendous strides and has elevated our program during her time."
Although Gwynn will be leaving coaching, she will not be leaving Southern Virginia athletics.
"Nicole has agreed to take on some athletic administration responsibilities and continue to be a part of the Southern Virginia athletic family," Lamb said. "She will perform various administrative duties while seeking treatment out of state. We want to give her the opportunity to have the best care."
"I'm excited to use my other strengths and have this opportunity to pursue another goal that I have always had in athletic administration," Gwynn commented. "I'm grateful to Jason Lamb and all of the staff in letting me continue to be involved."
After finishing 7-21 and 8-15 in her first two seasons, Gwynn took the Knights to a third-place finish in the Capital Athletic Conference and the team's first CAC playoff win in program history this year. The 22-8 (73.3%) 2017 season marks one of the best in program history, and the best since joining the NCAA.
"I will look back on the last three years with great memories and great relationships" Gwynn concluded. "The underlying message I learned from my coaching experience is that all of the hard work will pay off."