Cowley College assistant coach Eric Nitsche recently was named one of the 50 most impactful coaches in juco men’s basketball.
The list consists of coaches that have made and continue to make an outstanding impact on their players, programs, and the game itself.
Nitsche helped the Tigers to capture the Jayhawk East title and qualify for the NJCAA National tournament for the first time in more than 60 years.
“Eric is a great coach on and off the court,” Cowley coach Tommy DeSalme said. “He has got an eye for talent and has been able to find the right kids for our program.”
Nitsche is well-respected in the juco space and in the basketball world in general. Known to help out every year at the Mullen’s Juco Showcase, Nitsche has made an effort to establish connections in the space to further himself and the programs he’s been a part of.
Nitsche, who has been at Cowley for six years, helped the Tigers to increase their win total for three straight seasons (2016-18) and assisted the Tigers to a second-place finish in the Jayhawk East during the 2018-19 season.
“The majority of coaches on this list win at a very high rate, so it is an honor,” Nitsche said. “I am grateful to be at a place like Cowley where we can attract some of the best players. I am forever grateful to coach ‘D’ (DeSalme) for giving me this opportunity and have learned so much from him.”
Nitsche, who was an All-City basketball and football player at Shawnee Mission North High School, played his first two years of college basketball at Kansas City Kansas Community College before spending his final two seasons at the University of Saint Mary. He led his college teams to 20-plus wins all four years and finished in the top 10 in career 3-point field goal percentage at both schools.
Following his playing days he went on to spend three years as an assistant coach at KCK and helped the Blue Devils to win 25 games during the 2010-11 season. The Kansas City native and his wife, Hannah, have three sons.
“My family loves Cowley,” Nitsche said. “We have been fortunate to bring in some really good players. We hope to have set the bar this past season and not look back.”
Two of DeSalme’s former Cowley assistants also made the list. Donnie Jackson of NOC-Tonkawa, and Adam Short of State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo., were recognized for their success.
“I cannot think of a better ambassador for Cowley and our program than Eric,” DeSalme said. “He is a huge part of everything we do here and has great things ahead of him. By having Eric and these former assistant coaches of mine make this list it must mean we are doing something right here. I not only want our players to have great success, but our coaches as well.”