Panelist: The HBCU Tennis Legacy
Nicholas Askew was born and raised in Kinston, NC, where he began sports at a very early age. He splashed in his first pool when he was three years old. At age seven he walked onto his first tennis court.
When he was 10 he became a rigorous competitor, being groomed as a future Olympic swimmer. By the end of high school his exceptional swimming and tennis talent earned him the distinguished title of High School Athlete of the Year. In 1996, after receiving scholarships for swimming and tennis, Askew left his hometown to study at Howard University in the nation’s capital.
During his time as a dual-sport student- athlete, Askew’s achievements mounted: he broke several swimming records, served as team captain and became a six-time conference champion. He also acquired the “Most Valuable Player” award four times – three times for swimming and once for tennis. He had the distinguishment of being the only student-athlete to have earned an MVP award in two sports in the same year.
In 2001, he became an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping to recruit top talent and train them into even stronger athletes. The following year, he began to empower more young people as the Director of Programs at the Prince George’s Tennis and Education Foundation (PGTEG) in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
With nearly two decades of experience as a professional coach, Askew has worked with top athletes from around the globe, helping to nurture them into top-ranked district, state-level, and national-level athletes. "He doesn’t just teach youth how to compete; he uses sport to teach athletes life skills, such as leadership, accountability, discipline and patience. Working as a National Faculty Coach for the United States Tennis Association Player Development (USTA) for over 10 years, Askew has traveled the country working with the top coaches and athletes.
Askew’s coaching style along with his commitment to empowering students and the community has earned him several honors including "Coach of the Week," "Coach of the Year," and "Professional of the Year." He continues to be highlighted by Howard University magazine, The Washington Post, WHUR, WTOP, NBC4, ABC7, WUSA9, DCW50, USTA, and USA Swimming for his various accomplishments.
Currently, Askew enters his seventh season as Director of Swimming & Diving at the nation's only NCAA Division I Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Swimming & Diving team where he has grown the program tremendously.
Under his direction the team has boasted their best records in nearly 30 years, gone undefeated at home, placed first at their mid-season championships, and broken 80 school records. Additionally, Askew’s teams have been selected to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association (CSCAA) Scholar All-America Team 3 semesters and running. Furthermore, diver Christian Nickolas reached the NCAA Regional Diving Championships for the second consecutive year. During the 2020 Bison Awards the Men's team was awarded the "Highest Team GPA" award for the second time in 3 years. Senior Captain, Noah Nicholas was recognized with the "Highest Male GPA" award. At the conclusion of the 2019-2020 season, Askew received the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association’s “Male Coach of the Year” award.
On the court, Askew enters his first season at the helm as Director of Tennis, taking over for long-time head coach and mentor Larry Strickland. Working with Coach Strickland both teams have consistently achieved ITA All-Academic Team honors. Most recently, the women’s team was recognized as having the “Highest Team GPA” at the 2020 Bison Awards.