Nick Papanicolas
Nick Papanicolas
Title: Head Coach
Phone: 302-356-6757

Nick Papanicolas will enter his 16th season at the helm of the Wilmington University men’s soccer program in 2019. The 2006, 2009, 2015, and 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year, Papanicolas has led his team to the CACC Tournament in all 15 years as head coach. He put together a run in 2007 to the CACC Tournament Championship and finished the regular season as the number one seed in 2009, 2015 and 2018, while also earning the program’s first bid to the NCAA East Regional Tournament, finishing 15th in the nation in 2009. The 2007 campaign was the school’s first CACC title since joining the NCAA Division II ranks in the fall of 2004.

During his 15-year tenure at the helm of the Wildcats, Papanicolas’ student-athletes have earned 56 All-CACC honors, 36 All-Region honors, one Daktronics East Region Player of the Year award, 12 different All-American honors, two CACC Rookie of the Year awards, two CACC Player of the Year awards, two CACC Defensive Players of the Year award, and one CACC Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Last season, Papanicolas led the Wildcats to a CACC Regular Season Champion, going 9-1-2 in CACC play. The Wildcats defeated Chestnut Hill, 3-0, and Jefferson, 2-1, in the CACC Tournament, but fell in the CACC Tournament Championship, 2-0, to host Post. The Wildcats earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament for the fourth time in program history, earning the No. 5 seed. They defeated No. 4 Le Moyne on their home turf, 4-1, to advance to the Second Round, but fell to top seed Adelphi, 2-1. Papanicolas coached five student-athletes to All-CACC status, four to All-Region status, and two to All-American status, including Vinny Tasca being named the United Soccer Coaches First Team All-American and Goalkeeper of the Year. 

In 2015, the Wildcats captured their second CACC Regular Season Championship with a 10-2 record, going 15-6 overall. With their outstanding play throughout the East Region during the regular season, the Wildcats earned an at-large bid to participate in the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament. They earned their second ever NCAA win with a 4-3 overtime thriller against Adelphi in the First Round. Their season came to a close in the Second Round, however, falling to host and eventual NCAA Division II East Regional champion LIU Post. 

In 2013, Wilmington earned its second ever bid into the NCAA Division II East Regional Tournament, sliding in as the sixth seed, playing against Post on the campus of Southern New Hampshire. A header in the 105th minute sent the Wildcats to a 2-1 victory and into the second round, capturing the program’s and the CACC’s first ever NCAA victory. The team lost to Southern New Hampshire in the second round, which eventually went on to win the NCAA Division II National Championship.

In the 2013 regular season finale, Papanicolas, the only coach in the 11-year history of the program since turning NCAA eligible, recorded his 100th career victory with a 4-0 win over Georgian Court University. After 13 years, he has collected a 142-92-24 overall record, good enough for a .597 winning percentage.

The 2009 season was a record year for Papanicolas and the Wildcats as they went undefeated in the CACC in the regular season (11-0) en route to a 19-3-1 overall record. They earned their first trip to the NCAA East Regional Tournament, earning a first round bye as the No. 2 seed. They had a 15-game winning streak during the 2009 campaign and their 19 wins were seven more than any other year in the NCAA era to that point.

Papanicolas took over the coaching ranks at Wilmington after one season as an assistant in 2003. He helped the Wildcats return to the top of the conference with a regular season record of 10-7-3 during the team’s provisional season into the NCAA.

Prior to joining the Wilmington team, Papanicolas returned to his alma mater to coach at Division III Rowan University for three seasons (2000-02). During his tenure with the Profs, the team culminated a 58-10-2 overall record. Papanicolas was a three year starter on the soccer team at Rowan where he led the team in scoring during his sophomore season and was captain in his final two years. In his three years as a player, he led the Profs to three NCAA berths and the 1998 Final Four.

Papanicolas holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration. In addition to being the head men’s soccer coach, he works in the University’s Student Life Department.



Conference Record (Finish)




4-3-1 (4th)

CACC Quarterfinals



2-4-2 (6th)

CACC Quarterfinals



5-1-2 (2nd)

CACC Semifinals

CACC Coach of the Year



7-1-1 (2nd)

CACC Tournament Champions



7-2-1 (5th)

CACC Quarterfinals



11-0 (1st)

CACC Semifinals
NCAA East Regional Second Round
CACC Coach of the Year



5-5-1 (4th)

CACC Quarterfinals



7-2-2 (2nd)

CACC Quarterfinals



6-5 (5th)

CACC Semifinals



7-4-1 (4th)

CACC Semifinals
NCAA East Regional Second Round



7-5 (6th)

CACC Finalists

2015 15-6 10-2 (1st) CACC Regular Season Champions
CACC Semifinals
NCAA East Regional Second Round
CACC Coach of the Year 
2016 12-6-1 7-4-1 (3rd CACC Semifinals 
2017 10-6-3 9-3 (3rd) CACC Quarterfinals
2018 15-3-4 9-1-2 (1st) CACC Regular Season Champions
CACC Finalists
NCAA East Regional Second Round
CACC Coach of the Year

Totals (15 years) 

167-101-31 (.610)

103-42-14 (.692)