Last year, Millie Nichols was the freshman tennis recruit that almost slipped through Dave Borelli’s fingers. Borelli, the TCU women’s tennis coach, now calls Nichols the last piece of the puzzle for the team, he said.
Nichols, now a sophomore, initially began her collegiate tennis career at the University of Tennessee, and Borelli said he played a large role in helping her obtain a scholarship there. Borelli coached men’s tennis at TCU during Nichols’s recruitment period. He said this was a reason Nichols chose not to play at the university.
“I would have recruited her in a heartbeat, and I feel if I’d been the coach here, I’d have had a good chance of getting her,” he said.
While Borelli did not coach Millie during her first year of college, he did coach her older brother Zach Nichols. In fact, Borelli has now coached all of the Nichols siblings, beginning with Millie’s eldest sister Kewa in 2005.
Millie, who calls Borelli by his team-bestowed nickname “Dave O,” said she knew Borelli always wanted her to play at TCU and feels fortunate to be playing for the squad now.
“Growing up, whenever Dave O was my sister’s coach, they’d always talk about recruiting me,” she said. “So he definitely had a big influence on me.”
Borelli said he had been looking for other players to add to the squad this year, and once Millie indicated she wanted to transfer out of Tennessee, “there was not even a question about it.”
“[The Nichols siblings are]all a little bit different and I’d like to think [Millie] has the most talent. Zach is going to get mad when he hears that, but she has the most talent in the family,” he said.
While he may not be as talented as his sister, Millie’s brother Zach played a large role in pulling Millie to the Horned Frog tennis team, Millie said.
“After my brother chose to go here, deep down inside I knew I was going to end up here one way or another,” she said.
This year Millie said she hopes to “one up” her siblings by becoming an All-American.