Feb. 11, 2010
Getting to know ... David Nikolic
Each month we sit down with a coach in the UWM Athletic Department for a question-and-answer session that appears in the monthly newsletter.
Last up was women's soccer associate head coach David Nikolic, who just completed his 16th year on the job this past fall.
What is your favorite part of the job?
"Watching the people who trust us and come to play and go to school at UWM grow as people and players. It is hard to be a DI athlete and to excel both on and off the field. Plus, the environment that has been created for our players is different than many of the kids that they compete against."
You have now been a part of the UWM women's soccer program for 16 years. What keeps you coming back each season?
"I enjoy the work environment that Mike (Moynihan) has created and the development that we have created together over all the years makes it exciting to see what can be done next."
As stated, you have been here for 16 seasons, list your top three game memories.
"Top game memories ... there are many, but here are three: The first Horizon League (then MCC) Championship and getting to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 1997. Going to PKs to win it at Butler (and against them!) added a few grey hairs on my head. Winning the MCC tournament at Detroit in 2001. It had been a while since we had been back to the NCAA Tournament and the group of players that we had that year from seniors all the way down to the freshmen put in incredible amount of work and never wavered in their belief that we would win it. Finally, the 2006 PK win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament versus Purdue. Erin Kane's save with her thumb to keep us alive in the shootout is burned into my memory bank forever!"
Ten straight league titles ... what is UWM's "secret"?
If you could have one game back and play it differently, which would it be and why?
"No secrets. Hard work and an unwillingness to sit back on what we have done in the past. Michael is innovative in his thinking about the game and keeps all of us wanting to grow as people and athletes."
"I think that it is very hard to do that (getting a game back) ... and it would drive me crazy. We make decisions in games and the players make decisions in games that we all want back, one time or another. Learning from those games and putting what we have done into affect in the future is the key. I know that this is an answer that avoids the question, but I really do feel this way."
Favorite season as a whole and why?
"Great memories in all the seasons ... I enjoy watching the seniors and their parents on Senior Day walk out on the field for the last time and I get quick flashbacks in my head of all those kids when they started and their time spent in a Panther jersey. I would rather have those memories than the favorite year/team that I coached a team at UWM."
What are your thoughts on Engelmann Field?
"Engelmann is unique and has a definite homefield advantage for us. I think there is a very special feel about night games. Since the lights have been added in 2006, the mystique of Engelmann has only grown. The crowds seem to have an extra buzz at night. The goals and celebrations after also seem to shake the walls of Englemann Hall and the chemistry building! Walking out among the buildings onto the field brings an extra charge to everyone."
Favorite stadium/field played at and why?
"Englemann of course! But on the road, I have enjoyed playing at Minnesota and Texas A&M (great locations with crazy fans!)"