HARRISONBURG, Va., July 24. NANCY Bercaw, a 17-time All-American as a collegian and 1988 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 50-meter freestyle, has been named the head coach for women's swimming at James Madison
University. She succeeds Gwynn Evans Harrison who resigned earlier this month after four seasons of directing the program.
"I think it's an honor to be named the head coach for the women's program at James Madison," said Bercaw, who will be the eighth head coach in the 33-year history of the sport at JMU. "What a great history and
tradition, and what a dream it is to direct a Division I program."
Bercaw comes to JMU from Division III Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. where she was the head coach of men's and women's swimming and aquatics director since January. She coached the Ducks' women's team to a conference title and recruited a men's team that will have its inaugural season in 2002-03. The women went 9-5 and won the Skyline Conference Championship.
Bercaw has also coached at New York University and at the University of Vermont. She joined the NYU staff in 2001 and specialized with the women's sprinters. Both sprinters qualified for the Division III NCAA
Championships for the first time in 2002.
She began coaching in 1999 as an assistant at Vermont
"as a favor" for a friend who was an assistant
athletics director at the university. It marked her return to the sport for the first time after 10 years of working as a journalist.
Bercaw was an All-America performer at the University of South Florida in Tampa. On a full scholarship, she placed 17 times in national championship meets and helped lead the Bulls to the 1985 Division II NCAA
"It was a good career, and I would have gone there without the scholarship," said Bercaw, who graduated in 1986 with a degree in English. "I pursued them after graduating following my junior year of high school. I later learned that JMU was also interested in me as a recruit."
Bercaw will continue her writing career that has her currently working on two books. She has written for such publications as The New York Times, Vermont Magazine, Seven Days Newspape, and she covered the 1988 Summer Olympics for The Korea Herald, Seoul's largest English-language daily newspaper.
Bercaw's mother, Barbara Rixey (maiden), graduated from JMU in 1961 when the school was known as Madison College. Her husband, Allan Nicholls, is a
filmmaker, producer and actor-director. She is fluent in Swahili and conversationally speaks Korean and Spanish. She will begin her position with JMU on August 19.