On Monday, the Urbana University Department of Athletics announced that Nick Dials has been named head men’s basketball coach.
He becomes the 10th head coach in program history, replacing Rob Summers, who departed after three seasons for an assistant’s job at the Division I level.
“I’m very pleased that Nick Dials will be our next men’s basketball coach,” UU executive director of athletics Larry Cox said. “He is an ‘Ohio guy’ who is used to the environment that we offer at Urbana. I fully expect that Nick will build on the foundation here and bring even greater prominence to the Blue Knight basketball program.”
Dials, who is a native of Willard, Ohio, boasts Division I playing experience at Ohio State and Akron and competed professionally overseas. He has held multiple coaching stints at the Division I and II levels, most recently serving two years on the men’s basketball staff at Toledo under Tod Kowalcyzk.
“I want to thank Larry Cox, Nikki Pluger and Dr. [Christopher] Washington for allowing me to lead the men’s basketball program here at Urbana,” Dials said. “We will focus on recruiting quality student-athletes that will proudly represent the Urbana community, as it deserves, with our goal to establish an upbeat, unique and united culture. My family is eager to join the Urbana University community and we’re ready to hit the ground running.”
Dials helped the Toledo Rockets finish 37-28 over two years including a second-straight 20-win season in 2014-15. He also played an assisting role in the development of four all-league players.
Dials landed at Toledo after spending two years as an assistant for NCAA Division II member Rogers State in Claremore, Oklahoma. There, he helped guide the Hillcats to a 37-22 ledger while holding various duties and serving as the primary contact for on- and off-campus recruiting.
He spent one season as the assistant director of operations at his alma mater, Akron, in 2011-12, helping the Zips secure a conference regular-season championship and a berth in the NIT.
Dials accepted the position of director of operations at Miami (Ohio) in 2010, the same season the RedHawks finished second in the league and reached the Collegiate Basketball Invitational (CBI) postseason tournament.
In 2009, Dials entered the collegiate coaching profession as head assistant coach at Atlantic Region foe Alderson-Broaddus in Phillippi, West Virginia. During his time, the Battlers compiled a 24-7 record and earned a seventh seed in regional play of the 2010 NCAA Division II Tournament.
Dials began his collegiate playing career at Ohio State, starting nine games during his freshman season. He then transferred to Akron and went on to score 1,087 career points and dish out 326 assists. He served as a team captain his senior season and earned All-MAC recognition.
Dials went on to play professionally overseas with Ehingen Steeples in Ehingen, Germany and paced the team in scoring, assists and efficiency rating. During his time in Germany, Dials served as head coach of the Ehingen Steeples youth team.
As a prep player, Dials became only the second player in Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) history with 2,000 points and 500 assists. He was a 2003 McDonald’s All-American nominee, MVP of the 2003 Ohio/Kentucky All-Star game and 2003 MVP of the Ohio North/South All-Star contest. He was also named OHSAA Division II Player of the Year in 2003.
The Blue Knights finished 12-17 (7-15 MEC) last season, marking the best turnaround in program history after improving by 10 wins. It was also the highest win total for UU men’s basketball during the NCAA Division II era.