A nationwide search for a new head of the Clinton Family YMCA ended very close to home.
Former Presbyterian College head football coach Harold Nichols was named chief executive officer of the Clinton Family YMCA in an announcement from the organization’s board of directors.
“We conducted a nationwide search that generated a tremendous amount of interest and numerous highly qualified candidates,” said Kay Cleveland, chair of the board’s search committee. “However, we could not be more thrilled that the candidate who rose to the top and was our unanimous selection was someone right here in Clinton.”
Nichols returned to his alma mater as head football coach and spent eight seasons at the helm of the Blue Hose (2009-16) as the program made the transition from NCAA Division II to the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. Since 2017, he has worked as PC’s assistant athletic director for development, directing fundraising for Blue Hose athletics programs.
He is set to begin his new duties with the YMCA on April 1.
“I am looking forward to joining the YMCA family and appreciate the opportunity to serve the people of the Clinton community,” Nichols said. “I want to thank the board, the staff, and the YMCA USA for entrusting me with the recreational hub of our great town.”
Nichols will succeed Gene Simmons, who spent four decades in leadership with the Clinton YMCA. Simmons retired at the end of 2020, but the search committee’s work began this past summer after Simmons announced his pending retirement.
“We knew we had big shoes to fill after the leadership Gene Simmons provided to the Clinton YMCA for 40 years, so we wanted to be sure we got it right,” said Clinton YMCA Board Chair Harriett Reid. “We are very excited to begin a new era of leadership under Harold and look forward to working together with him and the great staff we have at the Y to provide programs and resources for the Clinton community.”
Nichols is married to PC Senior Associate Athletics Director Dee Nichols. They have three children, Cassie, and twins Corey and Cameron. They are members of First Presbyterian Church of Clinton.