Colonels shuffle women’s basketball coaching staff

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Nicholls State University women’s basketball coach DoBee Plaisance has added a few new basketball minds to her bench for the 2019-20 season.

Plaisance announced this past week that she’s hired Chad Killinger and Connor McNelis to her staff. The new coaches will join third-year assistant coach Jenny Nash to round out Nicholls’ women’s basketball staff.

Plaisance said both of new coaches will do a good job in Thibodaux, adding that she’s excited about the opportunity to bring both on board.

Nicholls had vacancies after former lead assistant coach Justin Payne left the team this offseason to become the head women’s basketball coach at Georgia Southwestern State University.

“I’m excited about not only the enthusiasm they have for wanting to be part of this program, but also their desire to get into the fabric of our community,” Plaisance said. “Chad and Connor are extremely hard-working coaches and are going to be assets in terms of us continuing to sustain our success.”

Killinger lands at Nicholls with more than 2 decades of experience in collegiate coaching — including head coaching experience.

Last season, he was an assistant coach at East Carolina, helping the team to a 16-15 record.

Prior to that, Killinger was the head women’s basketball coach at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri, where he guided the team to a 147-71 record in seven seasons.

In his tenure, Moberly Area CC finished in the Top 3 in the region regular season standings six times and advanced to the Region Tournament Semifinals five times.

Killinger comes to Nicholls with a decorated background for coaching defense. Last year at East Carolina, the Pirates were No. 17 in the country in steals and No. 18 in turnovers forced. ECU standout Lashonda Monk set a conference record with 116 steals on the season.

“Chad has a vast amount of experience coming from a bigger conference and has enjoyed a lot of success at the junior college level,” Plaisance said.

McNelis comes to Thibodaux with less experience, but a hunger to make his mark in coaching circles.

For the past two seasons, he was a video coordinator and the player development coach at Florida Atlantic University.

Prior to joining FAU, McNelis spent three seasons at Southern Miss, serving a variety of roles. He was the men’s basketball team manager, as well as a women’s basketball student assistant. With the men’s team, he assisted with skill development and practice live drills.

He is a student of the game and has been around women’s basketball his entire life.

His mother, Joye Lee McNelis has been coaching collegiately for more than 30 years and is currently the head women’s basketball coach at Southern Miss.

At FAU, McNelis was responsible for utilizing Synergy and iMovie for highlights, game and practice breakdowns and recruiting highlights. He also helped formulate practice plans and assisted coaches in creating scouting reports and game plans throughout the season.

Plaisance said his passion and energy will help the team going forward.

“Connor was also part of a program from a larger conference and has an excellent coaching pedigree,” Plaisance said. “His enthusiasm for the game is contagious.”

The Colonels will begin their 2019-20 season this coming fall.

Nicholls returns several key players off a group that won 20 games last year, including a 14-4 mark in the Southland Conference. •

DoBee Plaisance

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