Depth in distance events and on the boards will help the Wildcats this year
Nichole Ellis joined Northwestern as an assistant coach prior to the 2006-07 season and was promoted to the role of associate head coach in September of 2009. She coaches the mid-distance stroke and distance swimmers and coordinates recruiting for the 'Cats. Northwestern recruited the largest freshman classes in the program's history in two-consecutive years under Ellis' charge, and the freshman class of 2010-11 was one of the most highly touted in recent memory.
In her first season at Northwestern, the Wildcats had 15 individual swims land on the program's all-time top-10 performers list, and the 'Cats compiled 19 NCAA cut times -- 12 by freshmen. Ellis coached then-freshman Kassia Shishkoff to a National Swimmer of the Week award, and signed what is considered to be Northwestern's second-consecutive recruiting class with exceptional talent and depth.
Ellis' second season with the Wildcats was the program's best since 2000. Ellis coached freshman Ellen Grigg to first team All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, where Grigg finished 8th in the 500 freestyle. In addition, Ellis coached five out of the team's nine NCAA Championships qualifiers during the 2007-08 season, and five members of Ellis' training group broke over half of the Northwestern school records set during the year.
Ellis helped Grigg return to the NCAA meet in the 2009 where Grigg earned three top-20 individual finishes while breaking three Northwestern school records. Grigg broke both the 1,000 free and 1,650 free marks with a single swim, simultaneously dropping two records that had stood for a combined 20 years prior to the meet.
Shishkoff returned to the NCAA Championships as a senior in 2010 with a career-best time in the 200 free, making her a three-time NCAA qualifier under Ellis' tutelage. At the 2011 Big Ten Championships, the Wildcats established 19 new entries on their all-time top-times list in addition to four new relay times. In terms of career-best swims, 75 percent of the squad recorded at least one at the 2011 conference meet.
NU's incoming 2012-13 recruiting class ranked 27th in the country according to Collegeswimming.com and came on the heels of a successful 2011-12 campaign that saw a return to scoring at the NCAA Championships and school records in the IM from Hannah Points and in the breaststrokes from Jenny Wilson.
Ellis also is an active professional outside of the Norris Aquatics Center. During the summer of 2007, Ellis attended the Women in Coaching Conference at the Olympic Training Center. She attended the Women's Coaches Academy in May of 2009 and is a WCA graduate. In May of 2011, Ellis was asked to serve as head manager of the USA Swimming Eastern Zone Elite Select Camp.
Ellis came to NU after two years as assistant men's and women's coach at Alabama. She served as the recruiting coordinator in addition to planning and organizing team travel and the 'Bama's first Cystic Fibrosis swimming fundraiser. Fifteen school records were broken and three conference titles were won on her watch. She helped coach the men's 2005 100 breast NCAA champ and 2006 runner-up in addition to the women's 2005 200 breast runner-up.
Prior to joining Alabama, Ellis served as the head men's and women's swimming coach at Butler University for two seasons and as the top assistant coach at IUPUI for one year.
While at Butler, 10 school records fell and she coached one Horizon League champion. She twice was named Butler University Coach of the Month and her team was ranked No. 1 in the nation as a CSCAA Academic All-America Team in 2003.
In addition to her success as a collegiate coach, Ellis also is an accomplished recruiter. At IUPUI, she intiated the program's largest incoming class and also helped bring in Alabama's largest class since a coaching change several years ago.
Ellis was an assistant Senior and College Team coach with the Indy Dolphins Swim Club from 2001-03 and the associate head coach with the Indy Swim Fit Masters Team beginning in 2004.
A 2001 graduate of IUPUI with a degree in secondary education and a minor in sport related health, Ellis was a four-year letterwinner and two-time All-Mid-Con Conference honoree. She won the 1998-99 conference 100 breast title, earned six school records and was named the team's MVP in 2000 and 2001. She was inducted into the IUPUI Hall of Fame on Feb. 2, 2007.
Ellis earned her masters degree in sports administration at Butler in July of 2004.