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Salem State University Names Nicolle Wood as Director of Athletics

A Viking alumna, Wood brings decades of success as a leader and coach

Salem State University has announced the appointment of Nicolle Wood ‘95 as director of athletics effective June 1, 2020. Wood will be responsible for overseeing the vision of SSU athletics and guiding it to provide a positive and competitive program that focuses on student-athletes’ academic and personal goals.

Wood brings over 20 years of professional experience to this role, including 14 years as part of Viking athletics. She joined Salem State in 2007 as coordinator of CHAMPS Lifeskills programming and Head Women’s Soccer Coach. She has since served as coordinator for student-athlete affairs; assistant director of athletics; associate director of athletics; and most recently, interim director of athletics. Wood has been the Vikings’ Head Women’s Soccer Coach since 2006 and previously served as the university’s top assistant women's soccer coach.

Prior to joining Salem State, Wood was the director of programs at High Performance Sports Medicine in Peabody and served as the director of sports, health and fitness at the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore for a decade.

“Our athletics program has long benefited from Nicolle’s talent, Viking pride, and commitment to bringing out the best in each student-athlete,” said Salem State University President John Keenan. “This new role will allow Nicolle to expand her positive impact on our campus, our athletics program, and most importantly, our students. I know from my own experience how transformative athletics can be. With Nicolle at the helm, we can all look forward to a strong and bright future for our Viking teams.”   

"I have been fortunate enough to wear the orange and blue since the beginning of my undergraduate career, and I am honored to be named as the Director of Athletics at my alma mater and the place that I really grew as a student-athlete, coach, and administrator,” said Wood. “My experience as a Viking helped shape so much of what I have become, and I am grateful to be in a position to continue to pay that forward through the experiences we can offer our students. I would like to thank Dr. Panzella, Dr. Bryant, and President Keenan for this opportunity. I would also like to thank our hard-working staff and student-athletes who have helped make Salem State such an amazing place to call home."

Wood continued, "Despite the uncertainties and difficulties we have faced the past few months, it has been a really rewarding experience to help lead our department through this current challenge. The emergence of leadership that I have seen in our student-athletes and staff has been inspiring, and a reminder of how lucky we are to be Vikings. There is no other group of people I would want to stand beside as we navigate this crisis."

Wood has been an active member of the Salem State community and beyond. As an advisor to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, she has helped to raise the level of civic engagement among Viking teams and coaches. The Vikings have been recognized three times as Jostens Community Service award winners for their work in the community and have won NCAA Spotlight polls for their commitment to the Special Olympics.

During her time as head coach, Wood has led teams to the MASCAC post-season 9 times, including as a finalist in her first season and 2018. In 2019 Wood passed the 100 wins mark with the best MASCAC record (5-1-1) since her inaugural season. She was selected in both 2017 and 2019 as the Conference Coach of the Year and served as the MASCAC Chairperson for Women’s Soccer. In addition to success on the field, the Lady Vikings have consistently competed as the top SSU academic performer and were awarded the United Soccer Coaches Team Ethics Award of Merit and National Team Academic Award in 2018.

Wood is a 1995 SSU graduate of Salem State’s sport and movement science program. She was a goalkeeper for the Lady Vikings from 1991 through 1994 and was a member of four Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference championship teams. Wood was a member of the women’s soccer during its most successful period and participated in three NCAA tournaments and one ECAC tournament during her playing days. She is the only SSU player or coach who has played a role in seven of the program's nine MASCAC titles since college added women's varsity soccer at NCAA Division 3 level in 1986.

Wood has also served on many regional and national committees, including the NCAA Regional and National Soccer committees and the NCAA Working Group on Diversity and Inclusion. In 2015, she was named a finalist for the Giant Steps Award by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports, which are given to individuals who use sports to make positive social change and are leaders for their communities. She has also been selected for the Dr. Patricia A. Gozemba Award for her support of the LGBT community. She is the co-founder of the Roger A Cote Run for Courage, raising money in her father’s memory for the families of military veterans, and runs as part of Team Big Heart for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.

Wood resides in Hudson, NH with her husband and two sons.

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