Football: Phil Nicolaides hired as Macalester head football coach
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Macalester College Athletic Director Donnie Brooks announced the hiring of Phil Nicolaides as Scotland’s head football coach. Nicolaides served as the defensive coordinator at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., for the past six years.
“Phil is a champion for his players and the student-athlete experience, while setting high standards for achievement on and off the court,” said Brooks. “As one of the youngest coordinators and now head coaches in the country, his experiences and his vision for a highly competitive program and a successful student-athlete experience has left the committee excited for what lies ahead. Scottish.”
Nicolaides, 31, led a Yellow Jackets defense that ranked first or second in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) in points allowed during his six seasons at Randolph-Macon. Their solid defense helped the Yellow Jackets win three ODAC championships and compile a 48-11 record, which followed a 9-11 record the two years before Nicolaides arrived at Ashland. In 2018, Randolph-Macon upset John Carroll, ranked eighth nationally at the time, for the first NCAA playoff win in program history. The Yellow Jackets finished the 2018 and 2021 seasons in the top 20 of Division III.
In addition to leading the Yellow Jackets defense, Nicolaides was heavily involved in recruiting as well as coordinating several camps for prospects and young players. He also worked with special teams, helping to develop blueprints for each unit. Off the court, Nicolaides has contributed to the overall development of student-athletes, assisting with the academic focus and lifestyle accountability of Randolph-Macon players.
“I am extremely grateful to have been selected as the next head football coach at Macalester College,” Nicolaides said. “I would like to thank the sports director Donnie Brooks and the Search Committee for this incredible opportunity to work with some of the most motivated student-athletes in the country. As I met faculty, staff, alumni and players through the interview process, it became clear that Macalester is a very special place because of its amazing people and their common vision. My wife, Stephanie, and I are thrilled to immerse ourselves in the Macalester and St. Paul communities. I can’t wait to meet the team, build relationships and start preparing for the 2022 season.”
Prior to coaching at Randolph-Macon, Nicolaides spent two seasons at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a defensive backs coach and video coordinator. He began his coaching career in 2013 as a linebackers/defensive backs coach at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while also working at 360 Sports as an NFL recruiting and scouting intern. .
A native of Exton, Pennsylvania, Nicolaides attended Carnegie Mellon University, where he played linebacker and safety for the Tartans from 2009 to 2012. In 2013, he earned degrees in corporate finance and psychology.
Macalester was 3-7 overall and 1-3 in the MIAC Skyline Division in the Scots’ first season in the MIAC since leaving the conference in 2001. The Scots return the majority of their season starters last, including the receiver Rex Desso (Evergreen, Colo./Lakewood), who led Division III in receptions per game with 100 catches in 10 games. The season was highlighted by a 23-13 win over Hamline in the historic Paint Bucket game.
“Our return to MIAC has been a success in many ways thanks to the work of KiJuan Ware and current staff. I know the team are working hard and are excited to start preparing for the 2022 season.”
Nicolaides officially begins his tenure at Macalester on April 1.