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Longtime Mount Saint Joe basketball assistant Doug Nicholas returns to Boys’ Latin as new head coach

In its search for the program’s next varsity basketball coach, Boys’ Latin has turned to a familiar source, announcing Monday that Doug Nicholas will return to the post to succeed former coach Cliff Rees.

Nicholas previously coached the Lakers from 2004-07 before moving on to Mount Saint Joseph, where he served as the associate head coach under Pat Clatchey for the past 14 years. Nicholas has been a fixture at Boys’ Latin for the past 20 years, also coaching at the middle school level as well as being a physical education instructor at the Lake Avenue school.

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His plan is to further build on the success Rees established in his nine seasons — the Lakers made the jump to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference from the B in the 2013-14 season — and use the valuable experience he gained during his time at powerhouse Mount Saint Joe. In his 14 years there, the Gaels won a combined nine regular season titles and seven tournament championships competing in the MIAA and Baltimore Catholic League.

“I’ve been around and learned from one of the all-time best high school coaches [in Clatchey] — there’s no doubt about that and I’m really excited about this opportunity. Cliff Rees did a super job laying a foundation here moving up to the A Conference and I’m just going to pick up where he left off,” said Nicholas. “We have a great nucleus of players, great kids and I coached them in the middle school for 10 years, so I know every kid on this team at this point. If we can mix those guys with some new players, I think we’re really going to have something. So we’re building for the long haul … we want to be consistent like we’ve done at St. Joe and I really think it’s a great opportunity here to do that.”

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Boys’ Latin boys basketball coach Doug Nicholas.
Boys’ Latin boys basketball coach Doug Nicholas. (Michael Thomas)

Well aware of the difficult challenge of finding a replacement for Rees, who resigned to spend more time with family, Boys’ Latin athletic director Michael Thomas believes Nicholas brings many of the same successful traits to help the program move forward.

“I’m very confident that Doug will expand upon the program that Coach Cliff Rees built and will propel our basketball program to success in the very competitive MIAA A Conference,” he said in a written release. “Doug epitomizes the grit that is reflected in our boys and our school. He is an outstanding teacher of the game and has a deep understanding of its nuances. He will not only bring considerable expertise to the position, but he will help our boys become men of character and build relationships beyond basketball.”

In a text message, Clatchey applauded what Nicholas brought to the Mount Saint Joe program.

“His title was associate head coach, but much more than that — it was like having two head coaches,” he wrote. “He was instrumental towards our success — great guy, terrific coach. He’s extremely knowledgeable, experienced and can really teach and coach the game of basketball.”

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In his nine seasons at Boys’ Latin, Rees compiled a 173-91 mark and guided the Lakers to the B Conference championship in the 2012-13 season before the move up to the A Conference.

In the 2017-18 season, he was named The Sun’s All-Metro co-Coach of the Year after the Lakers enjoyed a 25-7 breakthrough campaign that included a trip to the title game. The following season, they went a program-best 30-6. Boys’ Latin opted out of this past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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